March Madness is underway. While a large majority of Americans will breathe, eat, and sleep college hoops the next several weeks, I am not sure I’ll join them. The truth is, I’ve never been able to get into the madness. And here’s why:
The last time Oregon State made the dance, I was 7 years old. At that point in my life, I wasn’t really into sports, much less college basketball. Ninja turtles and TGIF TV shows rocked my world.
Now 24 years later, I love sports. Probably too much. And I love Beavers basketball. One of my favorite memories while I was in journalism was covering OSU hoops for the Daily Barometer in 2004-05 — that season the Beavers made the NIT. Even though, they were one-and-done, making the NIT was such a big deal, at least in my mind.
So it was painful watching the program decline and eventually collapse under Jay John. But his replacement, Craig Robinson, gave me hope when he led the Beavers to the CBI title in his first season. But 5 years later, that hope has faded. Not to be a drama queen but I am starting to wonder if I’ll ever seen a March Madness bracket that includes the Beavers.
Let me get this out of the way: I like Craig. I think he does everything right in terms of representing the program well, his players graduate, he was instrumental in making the practice facility a reality, and for the most part he has gotten better talent to Corvallis (Cunningham, Nelson, Brandt, Collier, Moreland).
But at the end of the day, the one thing he hasn’t been able to do is win. Four CBI appearances and seven CBI wins over six seasons isn’t going to cut it for a once-proud program that’s slowly becoming irrelevant. OSU needs to get back on track soon.
And that’s why it’s time for a change. I am thankful for Craig’s contributions, but it’s clear he’s taken the Beavers as far as he can. This year’s squad was his best hands down talent-wise and look how far they went.
But sadly, I think Craig will be at OSU next year unless he leaves on his own accord. His buyout is problematic for the athletic department. Besides, we know Bobby D holds on too coaches too long.
And so it continues, I’ll endure March Madness once again, without my beloved Beavers and wondering as always, “What will it take for the Beavers to go dancing again?” — RW