Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The RC Johnson Archives

RC Johnson. Not exactly clairvoyant.
Because of all the hubbub with the University of Memphis' football program getting trounced by Arkansas State and the follow up email to fans and boosters by athletic director RC Johnson, I've done a little bit of Googling around the interwebs. Here's how we came out:

Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal wasted his time with his article asking for RC Johnson to resign as AD. He should have just republished the one he wrote two years ago:
Let Johnson pick a day in the next few months to announce his hard-earned retirement. Give him a lifetime pass to Graceland for all the good work he's done.

Then hire someone who can inject direction, energy and credibility into the Memphis athletic department.

Johnson can't do it any longer.
That's August 23rd, 2009.

It has to be common knowledge (at least among sports fans) that Memphis is indeed in the bottom 5 of all college football programs. And in a world where football steers the ship, athletic programs have poured collectively billions of dollars into their athletic facilities and programs over the past 15 years - with the emphasis of those dollars being on football, the major revenue producer for college athletics across the country.

About two years back, Memphis had hired Mike Tranghese to help deliver Memphis to a BCS conference. From Johnson:
"His role is to help us and advise us," Johnson told (The Commercial Appeal). "He asked me, 'What's my charge?' I said, 'There are six BCS conferences. Just get us in one.'"
Tranghese wasn't exactly on the same page:
"I've been hired to help them evaluate their athletic program, not to get them in a conference," Tranghese, who was hired Aug. 1, (2009,) said in a phone interview. "I can't get people into conferences. That's not what I do."
Memphis paid Tranghese about five thousand a month. His ties were obviously to the Big East, which Memphis has been chomping at the bit to get in to ever since they were left behind by Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. In the linked article, RC Johnson speaks of his desire to get into, well... any conference that will take them.

But always on top of things, in 2009, RC couldn't foresee what lay just one and two summers ahead. When talking about the SEC:
“They would have to expand and I don’t see that happening,” Johnson said. “We’re right in the middle of the SEC country and we would hope someday that that would happen. That would always be our first choice. We would just really like to get in a BCS conference.”
And his thoughts on the Big 10, prior to adding Nebraska:
“I’ve heard all sorts of rumblings,” Johnson said. “Their first choice would certainly be Notre Dame. But I keep hearing that Notre Dame may not be interested. I hear that they might try to get somebody from the East Coast.”
Is Nebraska north or south of the Carolinas?

Since RC's obviously got a good grasp on what all is happening around the country, what were his thoughts on the Memphis athletic program?
Truthfully, we think our program is better than about half the BCS programs. But not being BCS there’s always that stigma.
Oh, boy. That was 2009, folks. Look where they are now.

And just for fun, one more from RC on how Mike Tranghese was going to "Get 'Er Dun"...
“I think he can get through any door,” Johnson said. “I really believe that. He’s so highly thought of, I think he can do that. And I think everybody would listen to what Mike has to say.”
For Memphis fans, I hope that there's somebody over in that athletic department that sees that this is just a merry-go-round. In the past two years, that program has spun tires.

I'd advise Calkins to hold on to his latest article. He'll probably be able to use it again in 2013.

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