Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Let's Go to the Phones... Anyone? Please?"

Here's your monthly Fosco Lives! update from the narrow, narrow world of sports.

Today's story is kinda sad, actually. The head basketball coach at one of Fosco's previous academic pitstops, the venereal venerable University of Virginia, has resigned after the team's worst season since the late 1960s. Yes, Mr. Jefferson's basketball coach, Dave Leitao, is finally done in Charlottesville. Leitao's tenure was hardly legendary, with a 63-60 record over four years.

But whatever, right? Why should you (or Fosco) care? Well, mainly because of this pathetic little nugget from the ESPN article (italics added for extra pathos):

The Cavaliers routinely trailed by double figures at halftime, even at John Paul Jones Arena, where they went 9-8, and fan interest waned as the team's difficulties continued. The $130 million arena, opened just three years ago, seats more than 14,000 for basketball, but drew an average of just over 10,000 this season. Apathy was more apparent during Leitao's weekly hourlong radio show, which more than once attracted no callers.
That's right: a weekly hourlong radio show with a Division IA head coach in a marquis sport that more than once attracted no callers.

While it's true that we're not talking about a basketball powerhouse like Duke or IU, UVa is still a member of the basketball-crazy Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). And when Fosco was on campus (pre-Leitao), there was still some interest in what (even then) was a pretty mediocre basketball team. Fosco recalls walking past a dorm block one year during a UVa upset of Duke and hearing a giant synchronized cheer of celebration from hundreds of individual student rooms.

And now, six years later, the UVa basketball coach can hold an hourlong radio program and have no callers. That's the kind of thing that makes you feel sorry for the poor guy.

Well, except for the fact that, despite resigning, Leitao will still receive $2.1 million. I don't know what's next for Coach Leitao, but I think AIG might be his kind of place. Come to think of it, the American public has been getting hosed by "failure bonuses" for years: they're just usually called "buyouts" and tend to be given to underperforming coaches of college football and basketball. (And indeed, it is often taxpayers who foot the bill.)

Is it any wonder that Fosco never responds to UVa's fundraising requests?

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Anonymous said...

I feel compelled to comment, to atone for all the times I never called in to his show.

FOSCO said...

And now he's unemployed. Send him an apology Ecard.