Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top ten things Ernie Kent said to Mike Bellotti before he was officially fired.

10. O.K. Mike, before you say anything, let me tell you my great idea for next season. Are you ready?  Four words: HALF COURT SPREAD OPTION !!!

9.  I told Tajuan Porter he needed to drop a dozen three's every night. How is it my fault he couldn't do that?

8.  No Mike, I did not spray paint 'Kiss my ass, M. B.' all over the walls of the new arena.

7.  O.K. maybe I did. But I had nothing to do with drawing a swoosh with a slash through it and the letters 'F.U.P.K'. on Phil Knight's helipad.

6. O.K., O.K maybe I did that too. But the guy who mooned the Knight Arena construction webcam with the words, "You'll miss me when I'm gone. --E.K." written on his butt, . . . . that wasn't me.

5. I must say that I am proud of my kids going to class, graduating, staying out of trouble . . . . By the way Mike, how's that goin' with your recruits?

4. Hey Mike, Jordan says "Hi . . . .dopey backstabbing royal bullshitter. "  . . . . What? . . . . I said, Jordan says "Hi. Hope we get back to the Rose Bowl soon- . . . er . . . . "

3. The scoreboard in your new arena will NEVER swing. I WAS. I AM. I ALWAYS WILL BE . . . THE SCOREBOARD SWINGER!!!

2. You can take away my Oregon dream job; but you'll never take away my fine New York suits.

And the number one thing Kent said to Bellotti before he was fired . . .

1. I'll sue you for discrimination. You can't fire me just because I'm not Obama's brother-in-law!

Ha ha. Ho ho.  Look at me, I'm David Freakin' Letterman. But to get serious, I must talk about what brought Ernie back to Oregon 13 years ago.

Back then our coach was Jerry Green, a Kansas guy. He was going to turn Oregon into Kansas. He brought in the preseason 'Midnight Madness' scrimmages. He changed the font on the uni's to that familiar Kansas Riverboat style. And for his entire tenure at Oregon, he complained about Mac Court. He convinced himself after a year that he could NEVER make a Kansas out of Oregon. He grew to resent Oregon. In Green's final season, as fans questioned his recruiting and coaching, he kept saying, "I've got the toughest job in all of basketball," meaning he stopped believing in the product. He couldn't convince kids to play here because he hated it himself.

After showing Green the door, in walks Ernie Kent. A Kamikaze Kid who LOVES Oregon. He loves the old barn that is Mac Court. He changed everything back to reflect and show off and mean OREGON. And then he did better than any other Oregon basketball coach to introduce the rest of the nation to the Oregon Ducks. Pac-10 tournament champs. Two Elite Eight appearances in the NCAA's. I recorded that Sweet 16 trouncing of UNLV. What a glorious game. I consider that the brightest moment of the Kent era.

Still I was one of those who said Ernie had to go. Why? Honestly, I don't know. I can't tell you exactly why it wasn't working. It was likely a whole lot of factors. All we know is it just wasn't.

Nobody likes to see a good coach get fired. It's not like Jerry Green. That was a situation where Oregon had to fire him fast so as not to give him the satisfaction of quitting. He couldn't get out of Eugene fast enough for him or us.

But this is a sad move, even though it's the right move. One person was reported to have said, "Ernie Kent doesn't deserve to be fired; but Oregon deserves a change."

I suppose its appropriate that Ernie Kent goes out with Mac Court. He helped to bring a respectable end to a rich historic era. When the basketballs and towels are loaded up into the moving van, ready to go to their new gleaming home; when the popcorn machines and soda fountains are disassembled; when the doors are swung shut for the final time at the old barn, and somebody yells, "Last man out, turn off the lights." . . . . 

Let that man be Ernie Kent.

Why? Let him explain it in the following video, the press conference of his firing . . .

Ernie Kent reflects on his time at Oregon

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