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Why is it so hard to believe Bennett?

Posted by Jeff Nusser on April 9, 2008

Seth Kolloen over at Enjoy the Enjoyment offers a Husky fan/outsider’s view on Tony Bennett today in response to what Vince Grippi and I have written, saying he’s “completely shocked” that Bennett didn’t jump ship for another program.

“Now I’m not the national media, but, frankly, I don’t believe it either. Maybe I’m just pessimistic about human nature, but when you tell me someone is ‘different,’ it’s tough for me to take. The list of coaches, politicians, preachers, etc, etc, etc, who’ve professed one thing and done the complete opposite when the pressure got too great is beyond my ability to enumerate.”

Now, before you rail about him being a Husky fan and make some snide comment about anybody who’s not a Coug always being shocked that anyone wants to spend any time in Pullman, I’ll tell you this: Kolloen is always even-handed in his assessments of the Cougs, and, to be fair, he is correct in stating that there are so few examples of guys not chasing the bigger job that the skepticism is warranted.

However, for as hard as it is for Kolloen to believe Bennett’s different, it’s just as difficult for me to understand why it’s so hard for some people to comprehend that a guy — in fact, any person, not just Bennett — wouldn’t necessarily want to jump at the first “good” thing that comes calling. While Bennett’s not the egomaniac that a lot of other coaches are, he does ooze self confidence. And if you believe in your own abilities and think you’re good at something, why would you:

  1. Presume that you “can’t” be as successful as you want to be where you’re at before you’ve even really had a chance to try?
  2. Presume that you’re never going to reach the level of success you’ve had so far and therefore aren’t going to have an opportunity to move on to another great job at some point in the future when the timing is better?

I think Bennett truly believes he can create a long-term winner at WSU, and he wants to find out for himself that he can’t win a national championship here no matter what anyone else says. And I’m sure he believes that when it’s time to move on, it’ll be the right time, and there will be a great job that presents the appropriate challenge right there waiting for him.

The bottom line is that I think we Cougs are in a great position. He’s going to build this program for a couple of more years and either fall in love with Pullman — again hard for anyone who’s never gone to WSU to understand, but it happens more often than they think — and stay for a long time, or build a very good program that is ready made for the next coach.

Either way, we win.


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