Tough times for Wilbur, Sparky - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Tough times for Wilbur, Sparky

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Posted: Sunday, October 5, 2003 2:00 am | Updated: 1:37 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The sound of a phone ringing can be heard inside McKale Center.

"I wonder who this is calling me while I'm watching ‘Law & Order,’ " Wilbur Wildcat mumbles as he gets up from his sofa to answer it.

"So who's going to be your next coach?" Wildcat hears the caller saying, recognizing the voice of Sparky Sun Devil.

"Man, what are you doing? I should have known it was you. You were about the only one who hadn't called after we fired Mackovic."

"I thought I'd let things die down a bit. So, who is going to be?"

"Now what kind of question is that to ask. Whoever it is will get more scrutiny than just one man doing the hiring. This isn't going to be a one-man, one-coach deal this time."

"I'm having a hard time believing Livengood hadn't made up his mind before the TCU game," Sparky says.

"I can only take him at his word," says Wilbur. "I haven't heard anything to the contrary. I just believe the little stupid things that were continuing to pile up just pushed him to do it now."

"What do you mean? The dinner fiasco?"

"Even the quarterbacks didn't show up to pick up their tickets. But I'll tell you something else that happened last week with Mack."

"What's that?"

"It rained on one of our practices. Everybody got drenched. The next day it rained again. Instead of us practicing in the rain, this is football , Mack had the team bussed to the Tucson Community Center. Cost us a couple grand. After all that we still should have beaten TCU. All Clay Hardt had to do was hold on to the pick that was thrown right to him."

"Well, we certainly can't be doing much crowing up here," Sparky says. "I'm smart enough to know the way we've been playing, if we had played your schedule, we'd have the same record."

"Boy, with all that noise coming from ASU in the preseason, this must be tough on Koetter."

"It sure is. He's a young head coach who hasn't had to deal with this kind of pressure. Gene Smith had some of the other ASU head coaches, Rob, Murph, talk to Dirk on Monday. They also attended his Monday press conference."

"Do you think it'll help?"

"Possibly. It'd help more if Murph, Rob, Linda Wells, could block, tackle and cover receivers."

"Your entire season's on the line against USC."

"Don't I know it. And the offense does, too. After the emphasis we placed on getting Andrew Walter and receivers on the same page this week, if we don't have a big day throwing the ball . . . well I don't want to think about the rest of the year."

"Yeah, you'd be playing out the string like U of A."

"I don't know about that," Sparky says. "We can still go to a bowl."

"And we'd have our new coach by then," Wilbur says. "Whoever it is is going to cost us a bunch of money."

"Just what is it Arizona is looking for?"

"A football version of Lute."

"Now you really don't think lightning will strike twice. Count your blessings you've had one Lute, and remember that ride will eventually end; he's 69 now."

"Mack could be a factor in whoever we hire."

"How do you mean?" Sparky asks.

"To get some of those new assistants to sign on to the Titanic, we had to give them multi-year contracts. We could end up paying double salaries."

"I'd assume if Hankwitz isn't auditioning for the head job, he can make an impression with how the defense plays."

"Hankwitz is the third Jim Young assistant to run the Wildcats. “The only one left off that staff in a position to get a promotion is Florida offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher.

“The Jim Young legacy is done at U of A. We've got to get somebody in here to start one of their own."

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