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COLUMN: With coaching job security, all coaches should be held to the same standard

April 27, 2015
<p>Geoff Preston</p>

Geoff Preston

It’s something that coaches at the helm of revenue sports know all too well. But has MSU started to hold sports of different prestige levels to different standards?

The mission of college athletics should extend beyond winning. It sounds cliche, but I really believe it’s true. Too often the pressure to win turns students into objects who are designed to make the university money. Maybe I’m old-school, but that’s not what I think college athletics should be solely about.

That being said, there has to be a level of fairness in the way the job statuses of these coaches are measured.

Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo are not the greatest examples because they have cemented their job security. There is no double standard at that level. A lot of the coaches at MSU should have the job security they have.

Volleyball head coach Cathy George is allowed to have a rebuilding season, and she has taken the volleyball program to places they have never been before. Suzy Merchant can say the same thing for women’s basketball.

There are sports, however, where the coach providing a good learning environment for the athlete isn’t enough, and there have to be wins that come with the lessons.

Too often these are the sports that fall by the way-side in terms of national attention. Just because fewer people watch softball than football doesn’t mean the program should be allowed to go 29-70 over the course of two seasons.

These are competitive athletes who didn’t come to school for the lessons sports can teach off the field, they came here so they could win games.

I’m in no position to call for anyone to be fired. I don’t believe I have the right. One thing I would like to see is some accountability from head coach Jacquie Joseph and her coaching staff. Mark Dantonio wouldn’t be allowed to win less than 30 percent of his games and not explain himself.

Joseph has to know this. The reason she has her job still today is because this wasn’t the norm for MSU softball. Joseph has been the head coach since 1994 and in that time she has hit the coveted 40-win mark three times, and has won 30 games or more nine times.

Joseph knows what it takes to be successful, and it is acceptable to be in a rebuilding period, but when this senior class graduates they will have not had an above .500 season, including a season when they went 0-23 in the Big Ten.

Suzy Merchant and Tom Izzo wouldn’t be allowed to do that, and Jacquie Joseph shouldn’t be allowed to either.


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