"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fun With Numbers

Looks like MU has some fences to mend with its all-time leading scorer, George Thompson. Yesterday, Thompson decided to resolve an issue with MU via the media rather than simply picking up the phone and dialing the institution he's been affiliated with for some 40 years. Bob Wolfley penned a blistering account of the gaffe in today's paper.

Thompson learned Monday that his number had been unretired from a friend - and this is the part that irks him - who attended the University of Wisconsin. The guy was teasing Thompson about it.

"What's this about your number being unretired?" the friend asked, Thompson told a reporter who called about the issue. "I said, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'Well, they have a freshman wearing number 24. I thought once they retired a number, it was retired.' "

GT is clearly pissed off.

"It's unfortunate that no one down there, whoever made the decision, had the balls to call me and at least tell me they were doing it," Thompson said.

Hey George, what's unfortunate is that you took this issue to the media first. Nothing like airing dirty laundry, eh? As you point out in the article, you've been affiliated with MU for decades and have known Cords and Crean for a long period of time. Why throw your Alma Mater under the bus?

GT, you should have run a smarter play here.

Regardless, Bill Cords, ever the team player, came to the rescue

"Oh, geez," Cords said when told of Thompson's reaction. "No one would ever, ever here in this program or at this university would ever do anything to (offend him). We revere George Thompson. . . . Nobody wants to do anything to make anybody feel badly."

Perhaps as a result, Cords called later Wednesday to reveal that starting with the Golden Eagles' next game Saturday against Eastern Michigan, Hayward would wear No. 32.

What a most unpleasant misunderstanding. Bill Cords, we're gonna miss ya. GT, here's a URL with a list of phone numbers and contact information for the MU athletic department.

Lazar Hayward, enjoy jersey #32.


Anonymous said...

Unreal. Firstly, that GT didn't know Lazar had usurped his number until now.. but your commentary about George not, you know, hitting #4 thru #6 on his speed dial, telling Cords, Crean, or heck, Fr. Wild, he was irritated .. that makes no sense.

What also doesn't make sense is MU's double fumble here. However much they like to repeat that "we retire jerseys" .. history tells us that just isn't so. Pick up any media guide and it'll have a paragraph about how they retire numbers, specifically with a chart of numbers that are holy.

Why MU decided to change the facts to fit their story is just classically dumb PR. Just say, "yep, we used to retire numbers, but there are only 25 (?) valid numbers, and with 6 retired, we just don't have a lot of room. So we asked our retirees for help, and gave them the power to unretire the numbers for players they deem worthy." Bingo. That would have worked.

Instead they try the Jedi Mind Trick: "These aren't the droids you're looking for, and btw, we retire jerseys not numbers." -- But of course, who the hell am I saying it's historically been numbers, not jerseys. Just listen to George, who thinks the same thing.

Anonymous said...

You would think GT would know about our star recruit, and would have noticed what number he was wearing...but regardless, why go to the media to resolve it? I understand why he would be upset, but as previously stated...pick up the damn phone & stop acting like a child. I'm certain he's got Crean's, Cord's, and even Wilde's home phone numbers...

TB said...

no doubt MU fumbled here......but Thompson should have had the balls to keep it within the family, to resolve it quietly. His whining does nobody any good here

Anonymous said...

seems to me that there must be some bad blood between George and MU/TC. why else would MU let the number be used and George follow up lik he did. also, seems he does not follow the program much anymore.

btw- if we are going to retire a #/jersey every year...we better switch it to jerseys before we run out of numbers.

Anonymous said...

tGeorge Thompson is bitter about several things, including nto calling the games any longer for Marquette.

He is the Vice President of PR for Briggs & Stratten, the guy knows better than to go public with this. Unless, of course, that was his intent all along.

I suspect it was and the Journal Sentinel was more that happy to be willing accomplices.

Most schools retire jerseys, not numbers because there are only so many usable numbers the NCAA allows.

Should Marquette have asked GT permission before hand, probably.

Should George Thompson have grown a pair of balls himself and called Crean or Cords, his former employer (he was the analyst on MU games). You're damn right he should have.

Anonymous said...

I'd be surprised if GT was forced out as color guy for MU Radiocasts. I can't imagine the conversation with a sacred cow like him, asking him to step down so JMac could take over. -- I'd think you'd get Cosmo Kramer to tell him, ala Raquel Welch, he's fired.

GT has retired from Briggs, by the way.

Perhaps he's settled into Abe Simpson mode:

ABE: Dear Advertisers, I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive. The following is a list of words I never want to hear on television again. Number one: bra. Number two: horny. Number three: family jewels.

Anonymous said...

George is right.

Anonymous said...

but his tactics were wrong

Anonymous said...

Imagine a scenario where George is miffed about another player wearing his retired jersey and instead of going to the press, he calls Cords to voice his displeasure.

Cords acknowledges the mistake, Hayward changes his jersey and everyone lives happily ever after.

George is right, but his approach was wrong. He doesn't need to grow a pair of cashews, but a brain.

Anonymous said...

I guess if Thompson wants to brag about how he's a big part of the program he should get with it...most of us knew Hayward was going to be #24 months ago, not three games into the season and not without someone from a different university letting us know. And if he really is a part of the program he should be able to contact someone with the university before going to the media.