As I noted, I do not begrudge his opinions--nor his negative opinions--but how he delivers them.
It is one thing to disapprove of President Brodhead's leadership, and another to compare it to that of an amoeba and to call him "Mr. Chips."
It is one thing to disagree with the management or direction of Duke football, and another to suggest continously that it abandon the ACC.
It is one thing to be angry that he's been omitted from the "distinguished alumni" list and another to disparage the Duke alum who became a finalist on Survivor--Kelly Bruno, a friend of mine, who has done plenty of good to merit recognition without the scorn of someone out to score a point or two on his blog.
His articulation of his opinions and observations are what made him so darn good for so long. His standards have slipped.
Off topic, and my memory may be going foggy here, but working within the athletic department in the mid to late '90s, someone (and I am almost certain it was Jill Mickle, although it could have been Mike Sobb or Mike Cragg saying it in Jill's presence) told me that the Blue Devil mascot's smile (pre-current tough guy devil) was based on Tom Mickle's smile. Even if they were just ribbing me, I liked to think it was true.
Tom was working for the ACC at the time, but I got to meet him as well while a student. Awesome, awesome guy.
Here's all you need to know about Feinstein and Duke. Because of his self-righteous fury at not getting his man as AD, he jumped on the lacrosse story as a form of
personal vindication, got it spectacularly wrong, never apologized and kept getting it wrong to the end. I lost all respect for him and have tried to ignore him ever since. He's not a standard bearer for anything other than his own ego.
Feinstein is a talented writer, what I don't understand is why he took it so personal that Duke didn't do what he wanted and hire Tom Mickle.
John like any of us, has a right to his opinion, but when he puts himself on the same level as a University President and throws a baby fit when he doesn’t get his way, he comes off as a spoiled, petulant child.
If John wants the authority to make such decisions (hiring, firing, etc…) then he should work his way into a job that actually has some responsibility associated with it and stop writing stories for a living.
I guess it is the season, but I am growing tired of “journalists” who believe that their opinion is the news.
Feinstein is controversial at many basketball schools. On sports radio in DC a few years back he was a substitute host for a drive time show in the afternoon. As soon as he came on, there was a deluge of calls from Georgetown fans berating him for daring to say bad things about John Thompson (Big Jawn, in this case). I don't know if he is still persona non grata in the State of Indiana, but he sure was after "Season on the Brink," the inside story of Bobby Knight, was published. Kentucky fans also have a grudge against him, because the Wildcats and their various coaches have not been spared criticism.
I have no problem with JF. At the 100th anniversary of the Chronicle a few years ago, John put together and led an interesting panel on sports at Duke. Seth Davis BTW was a no-show. But he also volunteered his opinion that Duke should drop out of the ACC in football and form a more academic conference with the usual suspects (Vandy, Rice, service academies, etc.). He has also spoken at many other Duke events I have attended, and his love for the school is palpable.
John Feinstein is not warm and fuzzy -- or even diplomatic -- and he never will be. If you want warm and fuzzy, there is my classmate Charlie Rose, who is both of those things, but spends little time on Duke matters. OTOH JF has published two of the most successful sports books of all time ("Season" and "A Good Walk Spoiled") and continues to write on many different sports matters. Funny, but his golf commentaries rarely seem to be a lightning rod -- maybe it's just a laid-back sport.
The world is not a simple place, and while I like JF, you have my permission to hate his guts.
You must spread some comments around before flaming the Moderators again.
I would consider Duke's own Reynolds Price to be in the "excellent writer" category.
His job is not to select AD's, yet he felt that his opinion on the matter was reason enough for the University to select who he wanted. I have no idea if he was right or wrong, but that is not my point. My point is that he stepped out of his pay grade when he felt that he should be the one to chose who the AD at Duke University because he was a noted author and alumnus. Obviously John thought that he had more juice than he does, and he was hurt when he realized that his opinion is just that his opinion, not dogma or marching orders for a University.
I just think he has an extremely high opinion of himself, and like others have said, in life you win some and you lose some, so show a little maturity and get over it.
I'd already impugned Feinstein plenty as it were, and I don't know his writing well enough to go beyond what I think is a fair assessment in saying that he is indeed an excellent writer of sports. But perhaps this is just semantics. It would make for an interesting thread on the off-topic board to discuss the sportswriters we all most admire as writers. Clearly, Feinstein would not be as high on your list as others.
The fact that he can be so bombastic and prone to jumping to conclusions further undermines the credibility of his judgment regarding AD selection. I'll take his word for it (and that of others) that Tom Mickle was a fine person, but what's this about Nan and the power structure being afraid of his good ideas? Really? Any evidence for that claim? It's such a tired and empty accusation - that people at the top are afraid of good ideas or innovators, or that they didn't have any good reason to hire someone else. There are a great many considerations to balance when making such an appointment, and unless JF was in the room and aware of all the deliberations, he's going off with inadequate information - something he did in the Lax case, too. That's his move, I guess. And a reason to not take him that seriously.
John was asked to serve on a selection committee to find a new AD post Tom Butters. The committee came up with Mickle. JF evidently thought highly of him, so much so that he brought Mickle to DC and other places to meet Duke alumni and sports fans. That's where I met him.
Nan picked Alleva. Why? Who knows? But K and Alleva played racketball regularly, and it is widely reported that K recommended Alleva for the job. (JF also says that K, at the same time, said he was OK with Mickle being hired.)
Now, Nan selecting Alleva because she reportedly wanted a lower profile for athletics, as JF has been quoted as saying? Give me a break!! I've been in business and government for several decades, and I can never remember when someone got promoted because he or she would do a mediocre job. CEOs want good outcomes, strong subordinates, and someone to hold accountable. University presidents all agree that successful athletics is important to the contentment of the alumni and the level of support for the school. The fact that Nan came from Wellesley doesn't mean that she didn't understand fundamental truths about more athletically inclined schools. So, Sagegrouse comes down on the side of Nan's going with K's pick vs. the selection committee's.
There is an exception to the above: sometimes a weak candidate gets picked for a job because the big boss wants to the job himself or herself and wants someone who will take orders. Whatever her other faults, I do not believe that Nannerl Overholser Keohane wanted to be the closet athletic director at Duke University.
Anyway, JF gave his opinion, and I think he was wrong.
'Another funny thing -- last December Feinstein campaigned for Maryland to fire Randy Edsall, its first-year head football coach. I don't think he got any heat from Terp fans, many of whom probably agreed with him'
Feinstein is a very talented writer. If you read several of his books, they start to become a bit formulaic, regardless of the subject matter, and it seems that though he does an excellent job of researching his books, he makes sure that the facts are shaped to fit the story's arc as he best sees fit.
As he has gotten older, he has apparently become a bigger fan of himself and the importance of his opinions. This applies to the Duke AD selection. He is entitled to his opinion and I can understand his being a bit upset that Nan chose otherwise, but I think that his reaction has been childish. As well chronicled as it is about some of the disasters of Alleva's term at Duke, he is also the guy who hired Cutcliffe (after striking out with earlier hires) and Coach McCallie, among others, which would be universally considered to be great hires.