Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Time for Ernie Kent to go!
Tonight the Washington State Cougars, in an act of mercy, put the Duck Men's basketball team out of their misery by beating the Ducks 62 to 40 in the first round of the Pac-Ten Basketball Tournament in Los Angeles. This season the Ducks have won only two Pac-Ten basketball games to finish dead last in Pac-Ten standings. The Duck's nightmare season has thus ended but they lost many of their fans weeks ago.This season's record is unacceptable for any coach even Ernie Kent!
Let it be said that the young team played the season with honor and never gave up. The same can be said about the coaches including head coach Ernie Kent. I admire them for their fortitude. The freshman players can look forward to the years ahead. They can't get any harder than this one. It is all together likely that Ernie Kent will be back next year as head coach. I have great doubt that AD Pat Kilkenny, a loyal Duck fan, will fire Ernie Kent. Instead Kent should resign or at least announce that he will only coach one more year.
Ernie Kent is also a loyal Duck who loves the University of Oregon. Because he loves the University of Oregon I would hope that he would see resigning now or at the end of next season, as an act of personal sacrifice for the good of the Ducks. Ernie, despite some "personal mistakes" is a good man who cares about his players. He works hard to make them good citizens who graduate. He is an excellent recruiter who is able to convince parents that he will take care of their boys and look out for their long term welfare. Ernie has given a lot to the University of Oregon community. When he was first hired there was no bigger fan than I was. As a student, I watched "million moves Kent" play as a member of Dick Harter's "Kamikaze Kids." Ernie works hard as a coach and has given everything he has on behalf of the team. Unfortunately, Ernie has become a victim of the success he has brought the University of Oregon. Fans are no longer willing to accept mediocrity.
And, unfortunately Ernie has become a very divisive figure. I have talked to many fans in person and through online groups and every season the last few years he has divided those Duck fans into two groups, those that want him gone and those that support him. The discussions are often very bitter and there are even those fans that now secretly root against the Ducks in hope that Ernie will leave. There are also many Duck fans who have just lost interest in Duck Basketball. Most fans agree that Ernie is not a good "game day" coach from the bench. Many also believe that his teams do not get better as the season progresses. Kent has taken the Ducks to the NCAA "Final 8" twice with NBA quality players he has recruited. However, there is a general consensus that his teams "under perform." A "winning season" next year or even making the NCAA Tournament next season will not cause this divisiveness to go away. In today's economy the Athletic Department will have a tough time selling enough tickets to make the new basketball arena, "Matt Court," financially successful. It will be much tougher with Kent as head coach. He doesn't have enough supporters to buy the necessary tickets. It is with deep sadness that I write this and I wish it were not so.For the last three seasons or so I have been "on the fence" about Kent. I have now taken sides however reluctantly. I have felt this most of the season but did not want to comment till the season was over. The season is now over. Please, Ernie do the what's best for the Ducks! Regardless, I will never root against the Ducks openly or secretly. Go Ducks!