I was reading an interesting article today that was posted on Hawkcentral.com about what Jay Bilas had to say about the Todd Lickliter firing.  Pat Hardy used Bilas to state that Lickliter shouldn’t be the only one to blame.  A topic we here at MMOM have not touched upon as much as we should have. 

I agree with both Bilas and Harty that Barta and president Mason should also be held accountable.  Someone needs to be evaluating them as much as they are evaluating the basketball program. 

We have been hard on Lickliter here, just like everyone else that cares about Iowa basketball has been.  Lickliter’s losing record created a giant shadow that hid Barta from our vision and up until this point I hadn’t even thought about it that much.  That is until I read a few of the quotes Harty used from Bilas.

Bilas said, “I don’t believe that success on the basketball court is due to a coaching staff alone.”

So true.  As much as we bitched about “The Todd” (and still are), Barta should be holding as much of the blame as anyone, right?  He jumped the gun on Lickliter, offered him a contract that was absolutely absurd for a guy that hadn’t proven himself at the Big Ten level, and it failed miserably.

Bilas also added, "an athletic director and a president's job are to hire a coach that's going to win games. And if they can't do that, if I were the boards of trustees, I'd have the president and the athletic director on my carpet asking them how they screwed this up so bad." 

Is anyone doing this? 

Gary Barta has never really been high on my “Favorite Person List”.  He often complains about all the money Iowa spends for the basketball program, but refuses to spend that money in places that is necessary to get butts back in the seats (like moving the student section).  As a member of the Hawks Nest, he has even called us out and questioned our group as far as our services to get students in the seats (I personally think he has an issue of taking blame). 

 I’m honestly sick of hearing the money excuse bleed from his mouth.  He uses it as a crutch to try and get people to forget the dumb mistakes he’s made.  I understand that Iowa spends the fourth most in the Big Ten, but what are we spending that money on?  I think the blunt of that money is from the renovations that are 20 years in the making and the awful contract he signed with “The Todd”.  Other than that, I don’t know what they spend all this money on (I may be ignorant here for I do not know what the AD spend money on; but  I do know that the Athletic Department surely isn’t spending money to accommodate the students number one complaint with Carver; the Hawk’s Nest location).

Since his tenure began in 2006, attendance has decreased every year.  You can blame it on the losing and the sudden irrelevance of the basketball program.  You can blame it on “The Todd” and what seemed to be his inability to get the most out of his kids.  But I’m starting to think that we should be blaming Barta.

I could be wrong again.

Is it just me or does Barta seem like a sleazy, ignorant, power hungry idiot?  He reminds me of Bogs Diamond from The Shawshank Redemption, a guy that has this overwhelming obsession with power and has a quick trigger.  This only means that the basketball program is Andy Dufresne and he is going to f*** us big time until we finally find a way to get him out of the equation.   

I guess what I am getting at is, do we trust Gary Barta to make a good decision this time?  He was so quick to pull the trigger on Todd.  He claims to be “conservative”, but based on this incident it is hard to imagine that to be true. 

I agree that Lickliter had to go and actually I said he would get fired the moment Barta hired him.  I just did not like his style and I didn’t think he would fit well into the Big Ten.  But I’m starting to question myself now.

Wasn’t it just as much of Barta’s fault as “The Todd’s”?  Barta is supposed to be our leader, our captain, the guy that we are supposed to lean on and put our faith in.  Yet I have no trust in him to make the right decision for Iowa this time around.

Iowa needs a recruiter; a guy that can come in and convince players in Iowa and Illinois that Iowa City is the place to be for basketball.  A guy that can change this program around.  A guy that has some sort of “swagger” that young kid’s can relate too. 

I personally don’t need a big name.  I need a young guy that can develop a special connection with his players.  I need a young guy that has a passion for the game and can change his mentality and style to fit the players he has.  I need a guy that impresses both students, alumni, and the athletic department.

I think Gary Barta needs the same thing before Lick’s losing shadow diminishes and Hawkeye Nation is left pointing the blame finger at him.