(Ed. Note: As always, views expressed reflect the opinion of the author, and not necessarily a consensus among the staff or management.)
Have you ever spent a nice day at the beach? Try to remember how nice it was: lounging around, enjoying the sun, the waves crashing around you, not a care in the world. As a kid, our trips to the beach involved a lot of sand construction. Whether it was making sandcastles that washed away with the blink of an eye, complaining about sand being everywhere once we left, or burying ourselves in the sand… we were covered in the gritty substance.
You could say that the 2015-2016 season for Kansas State was not exactly a nice day at the beach. Our team’s talent seemed to be promising until the waves of conference play washed over our sandcastle and we were left a sad mound of wet sand. Our coach made excuses and blamed his players for losses, much like the unexplained sand covering all your belongings for days after your beach visit. The worst part about this most recent season? Our lovely, tyrannical athletic director seemed to have his head buried in the sand. The statements made by John Currie in the most recent interview seem to discuss why Bruce Weber is such a great person instead of how he is going to flip this program around (because he won’t).
John Currie, a man that has a job at a school sinking slowly to the bottom of their powerful conference, is making excuses for the failure of his coaching hire. When asked about Bruce Weber and why he is the right coach for Kansas State, Currie was "eager to respond" with this:
"Clearly, he has the right values and he has been embedded in the community with his support of different things – Coaches vs. Cancer, the United Way, you name it, but ultimately, it’s about the players he has brought into our program. Look at D.J. Johnson, Wesley Iwundu and Dean Wade, those are K-State guys. And they are all K-State guys who have a chance to have great seasons next year. That is a reflection of their coach."
Did Currie really just say the first reason why Bruce Weber is the right fit for our school is because of charity work? Not like his OWN foundation, just participating in a charity event that Currie approves of means that Weber is a good little puppet and is the first reason he should have the job. Perhaps it will get better, so I read on. NOPE! In fact the second reason of "bringing in players to our program" is even more comical due to running off so many players last year in the off-season. Currie seems to be his own biggest fan and one of the only fans of Bruce Weber that remains supportive as the coach shows little promise of turning this once fruitful program around.
Currie continues in the interview to say that where we were 12 months ago compared to now is a night-and-day difference. Last year, we had players fleeing our school so quick it was difficult to keep track of what players we had left. At one point, some of Kansas State’s fan base seemed confused if we would have anyone left to play basketball. This year, we had a chance to hire a coach that grew up in Kansas, played at Kansas State, coached at Kansas State and openly spoke about how much he loves Kansas State and we let him go to Oklahoma State because of Currie’s ego. This is not an argument of whether we needed to fire Bruce Weber, this is an argument that we needed to hire Brad Underwood. Currie let Underwood slip through the cracks to Oklahoma State and once again, Kansas State is at the bottom of the barrel as far as coaching goes. Don’t worry, the interview with Currie went on to blame the young team, promise the leadership roles are finally set in stone and tell us next year we will all be happy with this team and program.
Currie even managed to call this season a "bump in the road" and continued to rave about Weber’s ability to be a great puppet for Currie’s overall sportsmanship centric image that he is so adamant about creating for the school. Currie’s idea of success is through continuing to get donors to give him money for the immaculate stadium and athletic facilities that he has cultivated. Currie’s idea of winning is having fans behave in accordance to his idea of proper and sportsmanlike behavior. Currie’s idea of building a program is having the shiniest new toys and buildings to distract from the overall losing culture of our men’s basketball program.
Our conference record has steadily declined and is now the worst in school history.
Our team has two one-and-done losses in the NCAA Tournament.
Our last postseason appearance was two years ago.
Our team hasn’t even made the NIT Tournament.
Our team was denied an opportunity for postseason experience.
Our school that preaches about "family" let an actual "family" member go to Oklahoma State.
Our in-state "rivals" down the road in Lawrence advanced to an Elite 8 appearance and TWELVE straight conference championships. We have advanced in blaming a young team for our troubles and declining to participate in the postseason that we weren’t invited to join. Closer to home, two of the worst teams in our conference fired their mediocre/terrible coaches and replaced them with fresh faces with promising skills. We have decided to stick it out with a coach that has shown absolutely no upward progress since arriving in Manhattan.
Kansas State’s athletic department is run by a man that merits charity work over conference wins. Our basketball team is being coached by a man that finds ways to blame a young team and a tough conference whenever it suits his narrative. The right coach for our basketball program was not even considered for the job (twice, really) and we will now face his team twice a year as a reminder of what could have been. Currie appreciates the "passion" from the fans regarding his decisions but refuses to actually listen to their criticism. I guess it is rather hard to listen to the fans pleading for change with your head buried deep in the sand. Here’s to realizing the only way to cast your vote is with your feet and your wallet, knowing John Currie does not care about anything besides money and hoping our sandcastle of a basketball team doesn’t get washed away too quickly next season. After all, next year is finally going to be Bruce Weber’s shining season, right?