Monday, May 11, 2009

The UI Hiring Process; All about the Iowa Values

Would the University of Iowa hire a Bobby Knight type of head coach? Will anyone ever see a Hawkeyes coach explode on the media like Oklahoma State football head coach Mike Gundy did? (click here to see tirade). It is highly doubtful.

Why? Because Athletic Director Gary Barta makes it a high priority to hire someone of good taste, who has the Iowa values instilled in them.

Look at any of the coaches at Iowa, especially football head coach Kirk Ferentz and basketball head coach Todd Lickliter. They always seem relaxed and composed no matter what is thrown at them. They simply don't make scenes or call attention to themselves and that is the way it should be.

Sure, it is fun to watch the Gundy tirade over and over again, or more recently when Jim Calhoun called out a reporter, or the countless Bobby Knight videos. But, that is not the kind of coach that anybody in the state of Iowa would want. They want the type of person that is down to earth and humble, not a guy like Steve Alford who was eventually pushed out of the state by Iowa supporters.

"That is a huge thing for Gary (having the Iowa values)," UI Associate Athletic Director Rick Klatt said. "This is a very special place to work, it is very unique. We are a small state. We (the Hawkeyes) are to the state of Iowa, that the Cowboys are to the state of Texas. It is just a very unique set of circumstances. It's important to put the round pegs into round holes and I think that he has done a really good job of that. There is no doubt that Gary places a high priority on Iowa values."

When vacant jobs come up, Barta throws together a committee to start doing research and put the pieces together. His committee usually consists of some administators, a few coaches from the department, and possibly one or two external people.

They talk about the values they are looking for, the expertise, and how that coach would fit into the program. They put some people into a pool and normally trim it down to two or three people to interview in person. But, they make numerous phone calls to coaches before that happens.

Barta defines the Iowa values as, "high values, believe in education, believe in doing things the right way, and they have to win."

"They need to be a proven winner, that is clear," Barta said. "They need to be committed to academics, and they need to be someone who likes Iowa and shares our values. They also need to be someone that I would like to work with every day, somebody that I trust, and somebody that I know is going to do things the right way. If they have all those things than I will consider hiring them, if they don't than I wont."

There are a lot of pieces to the coaching puzzle that the UI look for when hiring a new coach. But, from head volleyball coach, Sharon Dingman's experience, the interviewing process was excellent and well prepared.

"I thought it was tremendous," Dingman said. "I think that they were incredibly thorough in finding out about me, whether if it was through phone calls that they made previous to me even coming on campus. It was a very thorough process and that was very impressive to me. Clearly this was very important to them. That was another thing that showed me in the interview that they were serious about volleyball and want the program to do well here. They did a lot of homework beforehand when they interviewed me."

Barta made Dingman feel comfortable and right at home throughout the process and has loved every minute of being a Hawkeye.

"I was leaving Illinois State and an athletic director (Sheahon Zenger) that Ii really liked and I trusted and appreciated him. But, I feel all those same things with Gary. Gary does care about all the right things and that is really important to me. He cares about the student-athlete and the experience, but at the same time, he is very competitive and wants to win."

"He is very caring," Dingman added. "He cares about his coaches and about his student-athletes that wear the Hawkeye uniform. But at the same time, he is driven, driven by winning."

Dingman never had the expectation of Barta coming to all of their volleyball meets but he has come to several of them. She understands that it is during football season and that is the biggest sport-related priority at the UI. But, one way or another, someone from the Iowa administration is always in attendance at the home meets.

The calm and relaxing composure is simply the way Iowans are. They are down to earth, friendly people. These people don't want a hot-headed coach bringing unneccessary attention to one of their top schools. It just isn't in their nature and as long as Barta is running the show, guys like Ferentz or Lickliter will be the head hanchos. Their interviews may often be boring or dry, but that is just the way it's going to be, it is the right way to go for the state of Iowa.

Photo from the Iowa Foundation.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Clutch Hitting Continues for Brew Crew

Welcome Rickie Weeks. You have finally arrived. Down by one against the Pirates heading into the ninth, the Crew put three players on base without an out. Jason Kendall, Craig Counsell, and Corey Hart all found ways to get on base. JJ Hardy's sac fly scored Kendall to tie the game. It was Weeks turn. The count went to 3-2 before the second baseman drilled one into the left field bleachers. Trevor Hoffman came in to close it out and again worked quick for already his fourth save since he came back from injury.

Photo From

The Brauny Man Still Sitting It Out

Ryan Braun, for the third straight game, will be sitting out against Pittsburgh tonight. While his teammates traveled to Pittsburgh, he remained in Milwaukee to get an MRI. He has been plagued with upper back stiffness for awhile and it acted up again.

In tonight's lineup, Bill Hall, who has been sensational at third base this year and made several outstanding plays, will use one of Mike Cameron's gloves and play left field while Casey McGehee will take over for Hall at third.

Paul Maholm is pitching for the Pirates tonight, which is why Hall is taking left and McGehee at third. Manager Ken Macha likes the right-handed matchups better against Maholm. The Crew has two outfielders on the bench with Chris Duffy and Brad Nelson, but they are both left-handed.

The unnecessary large photo is from

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brewers Purchase Pirates

It's official. The Milwaukee Brewers now own the Pittsburgh Pirates and have for some time now. With the 6-5 win over the Bucs last night, the Brewers have now made the Pirates their victims 14 straight times. It currently marks the longest MLB active win streak over one team.

The Brewers have also won 17 straight against the Pirates at Miller Park.

Trevor Hoffman earned his first save last night coming back from injury and helped the Crew improve to a .500 record at 10-10. They have won their last three series (Phillies, Astros, Pirates). Yovani Gallardo will try and help the Brewers sweep the Pirates today at noon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And Here We Go!

The Brew Crew started like the sausages right out of the gate, slow. But, they seemed to turn the corner and are putting it together with pitching and hitting. Plus, Trevor Hoffman's back. He pitched a quick ninth last night in a non-save chance. Ryan Braun is pounding the ball and Prince Fielder is starting to hit too. Jeff Suppan has pitched decently the past two games and Manny Parra even pitched alright in his last outing but was hit with the loss after a Weeks error allowed two runs. The only guy that really needs to get something going is surprisingly JJ Hardy.

St. Louis Cardinals are not going to be as good as they have been throughout the year. They will fade in the stretch just like they did last season. But, right now they are a dangerous team, one of the best. The Chicago Cubs are struggling and although early, seem to be beatable.

Dave Bush is on the mound tonight following his near no-hitter against Philadelphia. Bush will face Paul Maholm and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1. Cardinals 14-6
2. Pirates 11-8
3. Reds 10-9
4. Cubs 9-9
5. Brewers 9-10
6. Astros 8-12

Friday, April 24, 2009

Brauny's Back in a Big Way

Redemption. Isn't it sweet? In all reality, the past is the past, but the present series win gets the Brewers right back on track after struggling the first few series of the year.

Ryan Braun played a big part in getting the Brewers back on that track with a monster series against the former World Series Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. The left fielder who has struggled so far, broke out of his slump going 8 of 10 with six RBI, three home runs, and three base on balls which raised his average to .327.

The Brew Crew improved their record to 6-9 and are currently sitting 4.5 games back in the Central Division.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NLDS Matchup: Can the Crew turn it around against Philly?

The Phillies are 5-6, the Brewers 4-8. Neither team is looking like a playoff contender. But, tonight will be a match up of last year's NLDS where the Phillies won the series 3-1. Each team is missing pieces. For the Phillies it is their struggling ace Cole Hamels, for the Brewers, well a lot of pieces are going wrong. Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Jason Kendall, and JJ Hardy all are struggling at the plate. The pitching has lacked and the Crew is missing closer Trevor Hoffman. But Hoffman will be back Sunday and it is only a matter of time before Brauny and Fielder start crushing the ball. Also, it is only a matter of time when Cole Hamels starts pitching well (he was my first pick for fantasy pitcher so he better). Both teams will turn it around and it should make for an interesting series none the less. It would be nice for the Brewers to get some revenge and get their season going starting tonight.