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Kalani Simpson

Sidelines

By Kalani Simpson

Sunday, December 16, 2001


Sorting through the O’Lies

GEORGE O'Leary. George ... babooze, what were you thinking? A master's degree? No, nobody would ever look that up. Why not more? Why stop there? Why not MIT. Why not a doctorate?

That's Dr. Simpson, to you.

O'Leary, who did a good job at Georgia Tech, but nothing Hall-of-Fame-ish, was the pick of the great Notre Dame after the Golden Dome wasn't smart enough to go after Tyrone Willingham and wasn't patient enough to wait for more qualified candidates. O'Leary -- not a bad coach, don't get me wrong -- does not exactly set the world on fire. He seemed to get the job because of two important qualifications:

a) His name is O'Leary (we think); and

b) He would say yes.

This is what it's come to at Notre Dame (NOTRE DAME!), which -- like North Carolina basketball a couple of years ago -- can't seem to find a big name who will take the job.

But this was the worst possible scenario; this embarrasses Notre Dame in a very big way.

My favorite lie was that he had to pretend all these years that he'd played college football. He said he'd played at New Hampshire (why would anyone lie about that?). Well, he WENT to New Hampshire. For a while.

But he had mono or something ... an injury or something. He never got in a game.

"I don't remember him," former coach Joe Yukica told the Boston Globe. "Honestly."

"I never heard of him," the team captain said, "and I don't think I'd forget a teammate."

This guy wasn't even Rudy.

Hail, hail for old Notre Dame.

It's a sad story, sad, sad, sad.

Now excuse me, while I check my bio before it's too late.

>> Looking forward to my first Rainbow Classic.

>> They're ready for action! I've already heard from a high school soccer parent.

>> The Western Athletic Conference deserves only two bowl spots. Even if three, maybe four WAC teams deserved bowls.

>> The Rainbows' basketball loss to San Diego State on Friday is no big deal now -- don't panic -- but it could be in March.

>> No Luke Staley again for BYU. Hawaii fans had better hope that the Cougars get it together in the Liberty Bowl. If BYU melts down, those 72 points don't look as good. But if BYU wins, Hawaii is a hot name going into next season.

>> How hot? Well, the local TV guys were already trying to convince me that the UH football team would beat the Pac-10 champ, No. 2 Oregon.

>> June Jones says that Oregon would give No. 1 Miami the best matchup in a national championship game.

>> You make the call.

>> Yes, it was a surprise to see my name held up as an example in the latest offering from Paul "The Prince of Darkness" Arnett on Monday. You know, the "Island Fever" piece that launched 1,000 uproars. (At least we know you're out there.)

First, thanks, ah?

Second, I don't agree that you're necessarily brainwashed when it comes to college football if you haven't spent time on the mainland.

But it did certainly help me, especially in working alongside and watching the occasional case of professionals on the mainland with no sense of objectivity because they were too in love with the team they were supposed to be covering. It showed me, by example, how not to do this job.

Sometimes you don't see yourself until you see it in somebody else.

After all, what if I were covering the Rainbows, the team that I had grown up with? They couldn't help it. They didn't even know it, I realized. It's not so easy to remain objective, and therefore, credible. Outside experience, a different perspective, did help me here.

>> And as far as having a good background and feel for college football is concerned, we should also point out that Dave Reardon covered mastermind Steve Spurrier and national power Florida while getting a press box view of the Southeastern Conference. Paul has come from college football in Texas and national championship-caliber basketball at UNLV. And I was around some of the Big 12's and nation's best football in covering the Nebraska Cornhuskers. We've been there. We know big-time football when we see it.

That gives the Star-Bulletin's football coverage a pretty good team.

>> Or at least that's what we listed on our biographies.

>> End of commercial.



Kalani Simpson's column runs Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at ksimpson@starbulletin.com



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