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Letter from the EditorAnother \'Zany\' Booster
by: Rex Lardner
Editor American Football Monthly
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Just about everyone that follows their alma mater or has a rooting interest in a particular college, has heard or experienced stories about ‘football boosters.’ Many of the anecdotes reported seem to be either comical or cynical or sometimes, both.
When, in fact, booster organizations help fulfill the financial needs of an athletic department, the incidents the media tends to focus on inevitably deal with an outspoken ‘friend of the university’ who will stop at nothing to ensure his school has a successful program.
A recent boosters’ ultimatum, though, placed the University of North Texas in an awkward position: rename its new athletic facility after a just-fired coach or allow the donor’s $1 million gift to be directed to the music department. School officials say they will honor this odd request from Houston furniture magnate Jim McIngvale – known locally as ‘Mattress Mac’ – for his weird radio and TV spots. According to officials at UNT, the dilemma was either rename the facility for fired coach Darrell Dickey, or, the monetary gift would be redirected to the acclaimed One O’Clock Lab Band, the music showpiece at one of the nation’s top programs. So North Texas was placed in the strange position of defending the record of the coach it just fired.
Dickey, who starred at Kansas State for his father in the early 1980’s, became head coach at North Texas before the 1998 season. After a few years as head coach, he helped turn the Mean Green program around and won four straight Sun Belt Championships (2001-2004). In the process he became the only coach in UNT history to win 4 straight league titles. In 2001, UNT won its first conference title since 1973 and played in its first bowl game in 42 years. The next season, North Texas won its first bowl game since 1946 and, in 2003, UNT won nine games for the first time since 1978. But the last two years the program suffered through 2-9 and 3-9 seasons, respectively. To add to everything else, Dickey suffered a heart attack earlier in the year on October 12th. He was then fired a few weeks later, the result of the losing seasons.
Explaining his demand, ‘Mattress Mac’ took out a one page ad in the local Denton Record-Chronicle. “Right’s right and wrong’s wrong. It’s the right thing to do,” McIngvale said. “I don’t think firing a guy three weeks after he had a heart attack is the right thing to do, either. Even Wall Street isn’t that callous.” The furniture executive also commented that his demand is largely symbolic but was made out of frustration with Dickey’s firing and his feeling that the school does not adequately fund the football program.
Imagine not having the financial support needed to win... How often have we heard that...
In addition to our annual Product & Service Guide, this editon of American Football Monthly includes articles on zone blocking techniques in the option as well as secondary coverages for the 3-5-3. Part II of the ‘Spin’ offense is also included and Arizona's Mike Stoops answers your questions in our regular feature, ‘AFM Subscribers Ask... ‘
We hope you enjoy this issue of AFM...
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