Just got off the phone with former WKU women’s basketball coach Paul Sanderford, who led the Lady Tops to three Final Fours, coached Mary Taylor Cowles as a player and brought her on his staff for her first coaching job.
Sanderford discussed Cowles’ firing, and the business-like nature of college athletics today:
“Mary will tell you it’s not acceptable to not win games. That’s the nature of the beast. That’s why they pay you today. The bottom line is that she didn’t win enough games, she didn’t get to the NCAA tournament and attendance dropped off dramatically.”
“It’s a hard job. If it was easy, everyone would do it. You have no job security, but that’s the reality. You’re judged by the outcome of 18- to 22-year-olds and what you can do with them. It gets measured in a lot of other ways too that coach Cowles did a great job with, but she didn’t win enough games. Ultimately, that’s where you’re judged.”
“I think WKU will have to have realistic goals and do everything they can to reach those goals. I think that’s what they’re attempting to do. It’s a really tough situation for everybody, but it’s the reality of being a coach. The idea of being a great person and role model and doing things the right way still has to be translated today in W’s and L’s.”