So, here we are … the end of the season.
We knew we’d get here eventually, even if it was a game or two longer than a solid minority of Kansas State fans wanted. And, the end came in the exact fashion they had been salivating over: overmatched and out-toughed by Cincinnati like a big brother holding his little bro’s head under his armpit for an NCAA-sized noogie.
Losing in the NCAA Tournament never leaves a good feeling – the finality of it all and other things – but this one is obviously different. In 99 of 100 other similar situations – 20 games for the first time in three years, first NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in that same span, picked ninth in the Big 12 before finishing sixth, and returns its starting backcourt and a promising young big man next year (no, not Dean Wade – K-State radio color analyst Stan Weber said as much on Friday during a segment on Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City when he said the other players basically decided to stop waiting on him to figure things out) – this season would be reason for at least cautious optimism going forward.
But those other 99 situations don’t have the inexplicable caveat that a sizable portion of a fan base has simply washed its hands of a coach and wants its administration to do the same. They’re tired of drinking 3.2% Weber beer and barely getting a winning buzz. They want to get winning hammered, even if they don’t know where to buy it.
Regardless, an increasing number of fans want to go shopping, including some who gave it a legitimate go and have legitimate power in their actions.
For example, a season ticket of 30+ consecutive years keenly watched the past year and decided after Friday’s conclusion that they are finished until a change is made. Here’s the note they sent me on Twitter:
“If they keep this man after that effort, I believe I may have to save what amounts to $1000, once I make the full donation, pay for the tickets and parking, the gas and eating out.
“Hard to end over 30 years of loyalty, but the way we play has no semblance of heart, or recruited and developed skill. That got Altman, Asbury and Wooldridge out of here by the 5-year mark. I would think it would do so for a 60-year-old man. It’s probably going to take him resigning, because I don’t think an athletic department in flux, without a permanent choice for AD in place, to would probably pull the trigger.
“Does your voice resonate enough to help us small donors have any say in this? I sure wish the large donors, who effect any of these decisions anyway, knew how a bunch of us little guys feel. If a change is made, I’m sending my dollars right back in. No change, no reaching of 32 years on the streak!!”
It doesn’t sound like this fan is alone in thinking this way.
I don’t know if I have a voice that reaches the decision makers at K-State, and I don’t agree with how things have played out, but here’s hoping those KSU decision-making folks understand exactly how deep-rooted, and growing, their issue is.
Remember when KU won the Orange Bowl and then fired the coach that took them there? I know a first round NCAA loss isn’t a Rose Bowl win, but this situation feels kind of similar to me. K-State is trending upward.
I hear what you’re saying. It’s interesting to consider to the two situations side-by-side. In terms of trends, I agree. There is no mistaking that this year was a step forward. What’s hard is wondering if this season was a ceiling year for Bruce W. or a sign of better things to come. The crazy part is an increasing number of K-State fans don’t want to entertain even the possibility that it could be the latter.