"There are few things that would have caused me to turn against Duke and publicly rip it the way I did," Feinstein said. "Very few things."
Take it from the horse's mouth:
Note his parting shot, the byline on his entry, and consider what happened 3 months later.
At the same time, Feinstein has written, "There are three people I don't want to hear anything negative about: Gary Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, and [golfer] Paul Goydos."
Duke has built a brand based on excellence, innovation, and flexibility (read the introduction to the Duke Forward campaign to see what I mean). It values the exceptional. I suspect Feinstein's argument was that those brand values should have led Duke to take some risk and gone for something special, rather than choosing the safe and generic.
Most of us would say, it's time to get over it: time to acknowledge that even if you viewed that one decision as violative of Duke's purported values -- even hypocritical -- that enough time and players have moved on to say it's time to stop trying to find every other piece of evidence of hypocrisy on the part of Duke. But Feinstein, like all of us, is entitled to hold his grudge as long as he chooses. He doesn't lose that right just because he has a broader audience for his opinions than the rest of us do.
As an aside, and as one who was rooting for the Mickle selection at the time, it isn't entirely certain that she did make the wrong choice. Mickle certainly would have "shaken things up" a bit more than Alleva, and it isn't clear that the LAX scandal/mishandling doesn't occur with Mickle there instead of Alleva. Speaking as a long-time Alleva detractor, to be fair, Joe did have a lot of non-football success at Duke, with a number of national championships in numerous sports, improvements in many facillities, fundraising improvements, etc. As with most things in life, the "what if" game can cut both ways...
Posted by Lauderdevil Feinstein may bend over backward to take his shots at Duke at times nowadays, but he was right about Tom Mickle. Mickle was brilliant, creative, funny, and unpredictable. Duke went with safe and unimaginative. Mickle could have been the most successful AD in the nation -- the Coach K of ADs. In fact, in my view that was the likely scenario. But he could have flopped with a scheme or two that was before its time or off-base (but never unethical; that was never a danger with Mickle). And because he was so colorful, a mistake could have been a doozy. .....Duke has built a brand based on excellence, innovation, and flexibility (read the introduction to the Duke Forward campaign to see what I mean). It values the exceptional. I suspect Feinstein's argument was that those brand values should have led Duke to take some risk and gone for something special, rather than choosing the safe and generic. .....Most of us would say, it's time to get over it: time to acknowledge that even if you viewed that one decision as violative of Duke's purported values -- even hypocritical -- that enough time and players have moved on to say it's time to stop trying to find every other piece of evidence of hypocrisy on the part of Duke. But Feinstein, like all of us, is entitled to hold his grudge as long as he chooses. He doesn't lose that right just because he has a broader audience for his opinions than the rest of us do.
I have to disagree with the last part of Lauderdevil's comment (agree with everything else), and fall in with Duvall here, and say that as a professional journalist we have the right to expect JF to be professional about these assessments and public pronouncements. But, as we all know, that is often easier said than done - he's a FAN too, regardless. I understand that. But I do hope he can put the grudge part on the back burner, and as a journalist be more balanced/fair towards Duke once again. For his sake and for ours...
Last edited by -bdbd; 10-02-2012 at 03:41 PM.
And "what if" indeed as Tom had some serious health problems and then died suddenly in 2006.
Here's a very nice tribute to Tom. He was indeed a great guy.
With the benefit of a few years of distance, Alleva's record looks quite a bit better. Consider his last three major hires. Cutcliffe and Danowski were brilliant choices. And while I still think he botched the Goestenkors situation, after a rough beginning McCallie has turned out pretty well.
Alleva also brought in Church and Kimel, who have made their programs (literally in Kimel's case; she has been head coach for the entire 16-year history of Duke women's lax) into perennial championship contenders.
"Keohane didn’t want Mickle because Mickle was too smart. She wanted Alleva because she knew he’d just ride Krzyzewski’s coattails and never bother her with an idea. She thought sports were too important at Duke and Krzyzewski too powerful. She didn’t want sports to get better, she’d have been happy if they got worse."
Unless you're asking *why* Feinstein said this, in which case I have no idea.
Slightly off-topic, but my one interaction with Feinstein was at the 2003 Jordan Capital Classic. I went down to see LeBron, like everyone else. Feinstein was next to me on line to get in, so just to make small talk, I asked him, "So, here to see LeBron?" Without a note of sarcasm -- he was dead serious -- he looked at me and said, "No. I'm here to see every player but LeBron." I mean, you can act like you're above it all, but whatever, you're clearly there to see LeBron. (Other notables, by the way, were Chris Paul, Kris Humphries and the sons of both Patrick Ewing and Darryl Strawberry. LeBron was co-MVP with Shannon Brown.)
Good writer, though. I particularly loved his account of the 1996-97 basketball season, learned a lot about Krzyzewski in particular.
Put me solidly in the camp who believes that Nan indeed wanted to de-emphasize athletics (not to mention a number of other dimensions of Duke campus life).
He seemed like a good guy.
In the first place, Alleva didn't really make the Cutcliffe hire (any more than Dick Baddour hired Butch Davis at UNC). After Alleva botched his two previois hires (replacing Goldsmith with the totally unprepared Carl Franks, then replacing Franks midseason with Ted Roof and extending him -- two moves that turned a struggling Duke football program into the laughing stock of the BCS), certain powerful people on the Board of Trustees forced Alleva to submit his hiring choice to a real selection committee (and not a rubber stamp) that was dominated by Leo Hart and CG Newsome -- two former players who have become very successful. Alleva wanted to hire Karl Dorrell, who had just been fired at UCLA, but Hart and Newcome rejected that hire and forced Alleva to hire Cutcliffe. Coach Cut was fired IN SPITE of Alleva, not because of him.
Alleva's spineless behavior in the Lacrosse hoax was not all his fault -- the real problem was that he merely kowtowed with the misguided administrators above him and didn't have the guts to stand up for what was right (as several people in the athletic department did at the risk of their positions).
Yeah, the Dankowski hire worked out well (although with his son on the Duke team, it might be argued that was a no-brainer) and McCallie has been a good pickup after -- as you say -- he botched the Goestenkors situation, which made McCallie's early years here tougher than they needed to be.
I don't see any need to revise our low opinion of Alleva, he was Duke's equivilent of Dick Baddour -- a minor functionary who was a bookkeeper, not a leader. We are MUCH better off with Kevin White.
As for Feinstein and Mickle ... I do think John has been unprofessional in his reaction to his disappointment over the Alleva hire. But I also think that Mickle would have been an outstanding hire. He was a brilliant and personable man -- he was Gene Corrigan's right-hand man at the ACC during the league's period of greatest success (when the ACC became the most successful and profitable conference in the country ... sad to see the decline under John Swofford, but that's another story). Mickle was a big part of that success. Mickle conceived the original idea for the bowl coalition, which became the forerunner of the BCS -- which was a huge improvement over the previous system. He did it one night in a Greensboro restaurant on a bar napkin.
Of course, if we hire Mickle instead Alleva, we have to find a new AD in 2006. That would have been awkward. But we would have had a brilliant guy for almost a decade ... instead of a hack.
I guess, in thinking about it, I'm almost as bitter as Feinstein.
You will note that every time Duke changes presidents K wangles a competitive offer from the NBA and gets a better deal at Duke for him and his family. And it doesn't matter whether it is a coincidence or not. I think the Nan deal made him an assistant to the president and a lifetime job after basketball, as well as enriching the pot.
John Feinstein was a role model of mine. He was the sports editor of the Duke Chronicle, and by all accounts, remains the standard bearer for how to have done that job well. He is one of the most widely read sportswriters in America, his opinions are valued by millions, and he is undoubtedly an excellent writer.
His scorn for his alma mater would not trouble me but for its delivery--an I-told-you-so current throughout--that has permeated his writings on Duke football, the Duke Administration, and even his beloved Coach K.
I do not question Mr. Feinstein's love of Duke. I question the manner in which he demonstrates it. Comparing President Brodhead's leadership skills to that of an amoeba, for example, no matter the rightness of his view of Joe Alleva, is unprofessional and boorish. But sometimes he writes while he thinks through things. And that is not prudent, and is borderline perilous when you're prone to fits of publishing before thinking.
“I’ve always been fast. I was fast when I was at The Chronicle," he told the paper a few years back. "And I think in writing like I talk, I tend to be opinionated when I talk, so my writing is opinionated. When I was writing straight news in the news section, I had to back off from that. But in sports obviously even when you’re not a columnist, you have more liberty to voice your opinion.”
That can help sell papers and get you on ESPN on Sundays. But it isn't the model of thoughtful sports commentary, IMO, even in this new age of instant response. Opinions are fine; unvarnished ones are better left for lesser writers. Indeed, one of Feinstein's great strengths was long-form sportswriting. No more. When was the last time he wrote a worthwhile book? People like Michael Sokolove, Michael Lewis, and others, have long since overtaken him at the "top of their game."