What’s the right way to fire a coach? It sure isn’t what Arkansas did

SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at ericwbolin@gmail.com.

Arkansas Question of the Day: Tuesday, Nov. 28

Questions of the Day are, by their very nature, opinion pieces. But thanks, RazorCoverage, anyway. Always, legitimately, one of the most thoughtful Arkansas fan accounts on Twitter.

Sunday’s column states Arkansas’ board of trustees and big-money donors are to be blamed for the ridiculousness of Hogs athletics right now. The issue in the column was, in part, the way the current head of the athletic department, interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples, executed the firing. She was right when she said in the news conference Friday that there is no easy way to remove someone from a job.

Frankly, yes, Cromer Peoples or Jeff Long or chancellor Joseph Steinmetz or someone from the board of trustees or even a big-money Arkansas donor could have made the decision. Cromer Peoples is responsible for the delivery of the decision only. That does not mean she is the sole person who had input into making the decision. Her being the necessary agent for the news to Bret Bielema is why she was largely spared in the column. That means, yes, I don’t believe she is acting as independently as said news conference suggested. As such, unlike others in the Arkansas media, I had little problem with her carrying out the action as was required (self-preservation is a strong motivator) and even less a problem with her presser.

Cromer Peoples struck me – from the front row of the news conference, trying like a college freshman to remember ‘non-verbal communication’ cues – as someone who is not only auditioning to take the ‘interim’ off her tag, but someone who knows exactly what needs to be done to make that happen. She was decisive and direct. Exactly the sort of “I’ll do what it takes” attitude the board and those influential donors desire. Her willingness to say, without pause, Arkansas is seeking someone who gets its culture, is a direct corollary to that.

This suggestion that Bielema was fired solely because of his record is faulty. There is almost never one reason to let someone go, especially in college sports. Heck, most people can’t even decide why Jeff Long got rid of Boby Petrino. Was it because of the affair? Was it because he lied about the affair? Because he tried to cover it up? Ask around and it’s all of the above, ergo, not just a sole thing.

Opinion pieces, such as Sunday’s column and this one, always have elements of subjectivity. They’re not journalistically invalid because of that. It’s like paraphrasing instead of quoting – it makes for a stronger written piece, but critics will complain about lack of context.

Nothing in this world is cut-and-dry. Especially not making changes in Arkansas athletics, which is seeking its third athletic director in 44 years. This is new for almost everyone in and around the university and that much is clear. They’re fumbling this thing left and right.

But, hey, that’s my opinion.

The post What’s the right way to fire a coach? It sure isn’t what Arkansas did appeared first on SEC Country.

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