Trash Talk Does Not Bode Well For Cat Coach

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Those of us who have watched University of Arizona football coach Mike Stoops spoiled, crybaby sideline antics, especially in the Wildcats 20-17 loss to ASU, are not surprised by his latest buffoonery.

In a recent press conference, while trying to explain why Arizona had lost top-notch recruits to Arizona State, Stoops wisecracked, "Arizona State has turned into a JC and we're a four-year college."

It sounded to us as if Stoops was making excuses for his lack of success in recruiting and producing a quality program.

Under Stoops, the Cats have a winning percentage of only about 37 percent. In the PAC-10, the only team below Arizona is Stanford.

Stoops' finest season was 2006 when the Cats finished 6-6. Against Arizona State however, Arizona played uninspired in a 28-14 loss. Most UA fans were expecting a better performance since a Cat victory would have made the team bowl-eligible.

In 2004 and 2005, the Wildcats were 3-8.

Last season, the team tiptoed through a 5-7 campaign.

In the coaching fraternity, whether it is on the high school or college level, an unwritten rule is coaches never criticize each other or another team in a public forum.

By publicly criticizing ASU, Stoops apparently doesn't abide by a tradition that has been strictly followed by such coaching icons as Bear Bryant, Bud Wilkinson, Joe Paterno, Eddie Robinson, Tom Osborne and others.

Also, in Stoops' arrogant accusations about his rival school, he apparently failed to understand that the Arizona Board of Regents sets admission standards that are identical for all three state universities.

In other words, if a student can't get into one of the schools, he won't be able to get into the other two.

Days after Stoops' public whining about ASU, he issued a half-hearted apology, but never said he was wrong.

What's interesting to note about Stoops' accusations, is that NCAA Academic Progress Reports, which punishes programs for poor graduation rates, shows Arizona has lost six scholarships in the past three years.

The Sun Devil football team has lost none.

Also, the 2006-2007 the ASU football team was second in the Pac-10 for graduation rates at 67 percent. Stanford was first.

ASU is also second in the Pac-10, again behind Stanford, for the highest number of Academic All-Americans in the past six years.

Former Payson High School principal Phil Gille often said the excellence of universities could be measured by the number of National Merit Scholars it attracts.

Using his well thought out logic, ASU is among the country's finest schools.

Last year's freshman class included 188 National Merit Scholars, making ASU third among public universities nationwide.

UA's freshman class featured 92 National Merit Scholars.

Also, 16 ASU students received Fulbright awards last year. At UA, 11 were Fulbright Scholars.

Arizona did not have a single faculty member receive the Presidential Early Career Award for scientists and engineers. ASU had two honored.

Stoops apparently didn't know ASU considers academic excellence important enough to be the first football program in college athletics to honor classroom achievement (3.00 GPA or higher) with a patch on the football jersey. At ASU, 63 percent of all student athletes are Maroon and Gold Scholar Athletes maintaining a 3.00 or better GPA.

In light of Stoops' dismal record at UA, the Cat coach's best option is to Bear Down on his coaching skills rather than whining about losing recruits to a more successful program.

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