Employee Relations, Friendship & Football

The Inside The Ville message forum probably receives more than a 1,000 posts a day. But few of them, especially those pertaining to the athletic director’s relationship with the head football coach at the University of Louisville, are as insightful as the following post by DemonSpawn:

“I’m not one of those blind Steve Kragthorpe lovers who thinks [he is] the savior of our program.  I’m also not convinced that he won’t turn it around.  It’s just too soon to tell either way (although I have my suspicions).  But when I see someone post about how Tom Jurich hired his ‘friend’ or ‘buddy,’ I just roll my eyes and ignore everything else that poster says.  Rick Pitino is TJ’s buddy.  So is Dan McDonnell and every other coach at U of L.  So are the boosters and big-money donors.

“Bobby Petrino was TJ’s ‘pal’ until he stuck his knife in TJ’s back so many times that he finally gave up on that relationship.  TJ is successful because of the relationships he builds.  When he sees someone he likes as an existing or potential asset, he turns on the charm.  He stays in touch.  He invites them to parties and UL events.  He golfs with them.  He attends their kids’ weddings.  He makes it a point to connect at various functions.  That’s how the man operates – constantly networking.

“He’s made more ‘friends’ since taking over at U of L than most of us will make in our lifetimes.  He goes to bat for his “friends” – remember how he publicly defended his ‘buddy’ Ron Cooper until it was time to lower the ax?  You’re kidding yourself if you think the situation is any different with his ‘friend’ Kragthorpe.  If Kragthorpe fails, TJ will accept his resignation and let him leave with honor, and he’ll move on to his next ‘buddy’ on his list, who more than likely will be a phenomenal eye-popping hire who will achieve immediate success, just like 90% of the man’s other hires … “

This observer congratulates the poster (whom I’m proud to have met) for hitting the nail on the head in attempting to educate some folks who need a little help in understanding how to manage a nationally respected athletic program. Nice to have a way to provide a little more exposure for his views.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.