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    Leadership defined...

    www.kansascity.com | 12/25/2007 | MU chancellor Deaton helps athletic department leap forward

    MU chancellor Deaton helps athletic department leap forward
    By MIKE DeARMOND
    The Kansas City Star
    COLUMBIA | On Don Walsworth’s desk at Walsworth Publishing in Marceline, Mo., sits a ceramic frog.

    One day some time ago, Walsworth, the chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, dropped that frog in his pocket before heading to Columbia to oversee a meeting of the MU athletic department’s capital campaign program.

    Walsworth placed the frog on the speaker’s podium and then answered an obvious question.

    “You know why I brought this frog?” Walsworth said. “Because a frog can’t jump backwards, and we’re jumping backwards.”

    These were perilous times for the University of Missouri, and not only for its athletic program.

    Backwash from the Ricky Clemons affair, the Quin Snyder resignation/ouster, the quick starts and ultimate fades of Gary Pinkel’s football teams backed up all the way to the desk of Columbia campus chancellor Brady Deaton over at Jesse Hall.

    But there, it ultimately stopped.

    Today, Missouri football is preparing for its first New Year’s Day bowl game since 1970. The men’s basketball team is making a case for inclusion once again in the NCAA Tournament. Applications for enrollment are up 20 percent.

    And in a very real sense, many concur, it is because Brady Deaton became that frog, taking the MU athletic department’s troubles on his back and leaping forward.

    “There was an effort to mischaracterize, to place blame for what had happened on Brady’s shoulders,” said Jean Paul Bradshaw, a Kansas City attorney who along with publisher Dalton Wright was called in on one of the investigations of the Snyder departure. “And when I said mischaracterize, I mean that.

    “I’ve got a lot of respect for Dr. Deaton. He’s not a table-pounding kind of guy. But it is wrong if people mistake that for weakness.”

    Deaton speaks proudly about Missouri’s academic standing, how scholarship funding and the school’s reputation for achievement have attracted a greater number of students with ACT scores of 30 and above than at any time in MU history.

    But Deaton doesn’t see academic and athletic success as being mutually exclusive.

    “People statewide and nationally are very interested in the athletic teams,” Deaton said. “It’s excited a lot of people. It enables us to use that as a platform for talking more broadly about the great academic strengths for the campus. Which is what the bottom line is all about here.”

    Pinkel, who finished second in The Associated Press National Coach of the Year voting last week, credited Deaton and athletic director Mike Alden with standing firm in the face of adversity.

    “In all the tough times that we’ve gone through together … they were strong enough to weather the storm,” Pinkel said.

    Alden had no choice. Had he chosen to replace Pinkel, Alden would have been the man who made the mistake of hiring the wrong person to lead Mizzou’s two most important sports — football and men’s basketball.

    He could likely not have survived that, especially in light of intense public criticism over Alden’s handling of the ouster of Snyder.

    Alden’s situation turned up the heat on Deaton. But Deaton didn’t falter. He stood behind Alden and Pinkel and backed the hiring of Mike Anderson to restore order out of the basketball chaos.

    “If he thinks you’re doing your job and doing it the proper way,” Walsworth said of Deaton, “he’ll fight for you. And I’m not just talking about athletics. I’m talking about academics and everything else.”

    That, Deaton said, is at the root of Missouri’s improbably quick turnaround. It is why Deaton ignored the carping about the slow progress of Pinkel’s program.

    “He had a vision,” Deaton said. “He laid out a pathway to great success. That continues to be the vision. He sees us winning a national championship.

    “Here this year we saw it come pretty close to reality. It left a really good feeling on all of our part, that we had analyzed the situation correctly, that he was a person that could provide the leadership for the future at the university. We remain committed to that.”

    Deaton looks grudgingly over his shoulder to the worst of days.

    “That was a bad chapter in the history of our athletic program,” Deaton admits.

    “Difficult times always create pressures and counter pressures. Certainly, I think the fact that we moved ahead and are where we are is an indication that there was pretty strong teamwork in the end that sort of won out in this process.

    “Anything else might have happened at any stage. But right now, we are on a firm path, we have a strong foundation.”

    Two years ago, the foundations were shaking. On the day Alden announced the hiring of Mike Anderson, the Board of Curators met to discuss whether to fire Alden or not.

    Deaton was in that meeting. He fought for Alden. He won.

    “I’m trying to be positive and not point fingers,” Deaton said. “There’s no point doing that. Good things come out of difficult struggles at times.”

    Deaton admits he’s enjoying this football ride of a lifetime.

    If the Tigers of Pinkel’s seventh season beat Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, it will mark the first 12-victory season in school history.

    “I try to be in the locker room with them after every game because I get such a thrill out of seeing them rejoice over the successes they’ve had,” Deaton said. “They’ve reflected so well on the university.

    “We want to see a sustained era of strength in athletic programs here at this university, and certainly in football. We think we’re going to get that.”

    But at the same time, Deaton expresses an intent to be a leader for all seasons, athletic and academic.

    “We’re some pretty tough veterans of this,” Deaton said. “We’re not naive about it. But we’re fully committed to getting there.

    “I want to see us win Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, have our faculty be members of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “I want to see a Heisman. I want to see some national championships. To me, there’s nothing contradictory about that.”



  2. #2
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    Re: Leadership defined...

    Yep, could've been us - if we only had got Jamie Pollard after Gene Smith left, instead of that waste of space we had to deal with.....



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    Re: Leadership defined...

    Quote Originally Posted by DaddyMac View Post
    Yep, could've been us - if we only had got Jamie Pollard after Gene Smith left, instead of that waste of space we had to deal with.....
    Yeah I was bored of going to bowl games, playing in NCAA Tournaments, winning Big 12 titles and playing on national televsion.



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    Re: Leadership defined...

    Quote Originally Posted by cy1225 View Post
    Yeah I was bored of going to bowl games, playing in NCAA Tournaments, winning Big 12 titles and playing on national televsion.

    That had nothing to do with Bruce.



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    Re: Leadership defined...

    Quote Originally Posted by DaddyMac View Post
    Yep, could've been us - if we only had got Jamie Pollard after Gene Smith left, instead of that waste of space we had to deal with.....
    Yeah, but I think the only problem is JP wouldn't be the visionary that he is without his stops at Maryland and Wisconsin before coming here. If we could only have time warped those years...


    Chuck Lidell: I paint my toenails with pink and black polish. Problem is, I get more paint on my toes and on the carpet than on my nails. Any advice?
    Maria Sharapova: Don't you beat up other guys for a living? I don't know how to answer this.



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    Re: Leadership defined...

    Quote Originally Posted by cy1225 View Post
    Yeah I was bored of going to bowl games, playing in NCAA Tournaments, winning Big 12 titles and playing on national televsion.
    Funny - a few weeks back you were bashing LE. Yet he's the one who put us in those NCAA tourneys, won those Big XII championships and put us on national TV.

    Quote Originally Posted by bostinelosd View Post
    That had nothing to do with Bruce.
    Exactly.



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    Re: Leadership defined...

    Before we want to be like Mizzou, let see where they are two years from now.


    Clone to the Bone with the up and coming IOWA STATE.

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    Re: Leadership defined...

    Quote Originally Posted by CTTB78 View Post
    Before we want to be like Mizzou, let see where they are two years from now.
    While it's interesting to wonder about that, I think a once a decade trip to a BCS game, with the expectations of yearly bowl games should be a pretty good goal for ISU. We will probably never be a national power, but to have a shot 9 or 10 times in people's lifetimes to get to a national championship game would be tremendous.



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