TULSA - For years, TU fans have been hoping for a coach to stick it out, not leave the second an offer comes from another school, and high-tailing it out of town as quickly as the Baltimore Colts.
Doug Wojcik has just completed his seventh season and has won more games at TU than any other. Still, many fans want him to find another job as soon as possible.
Whether some people want to recognize it or not, TU does have a proud modern-day tradition in athletics, including basketball.
Nolan Richardson got it going in the early 80's, followed by Tubby Smith, Steve Robinson, Bill Self, etc.
We got spoiled, no question.
Several NCAA tournament appearances, a few Sweet 16's, even an Elite 8, and one questionable foul call away from going to the Final Four. Throw in a few NIT Championships, and the town was happy about the Golden Hurricane.
Unfortunately, that has not been maintained over the last 10 years.
Who is at fault?
That is the question TU administrators must tackle over the next few days.
In most of these instances, the blame goes to the head coach.
You can't let all the players lose scholarships. The athletic director is not going to fire himself, and the school president doesn't like all the big boosters harping on him to make a change, or else.
Wojcik has won plenty of games, but he has also lost his share. Enough losses to not be NCAA-worthy over his 7-year stint.
Truthfully, I don't even think that is the problem.
The problem, in my opinion, is this coaching staff has been unable to pull off the big win. The mild upset. Just beat Memphis once in 7 years. Don't get blown out on your home floor on national television.
Those types of losses are killers in the minds of a fan base.
The positives: Doug graduates his players. Never a negative headline in all those years. That is fantastic. I really mean that. In this world of big time college athletics, the one and dones, the over and over again suspensions, it really is a wonderful thing.
Wojcik will get another job in a hurry if he wants to with that alone.
But we all know in this world of sports, it's win baby, and win big.
I have had the opportunity of covering TU basketball from the moment it got good again in 1980. I have seen how this program had this city rocking. At times it was downright crazy.
Right now, there isn't even a murmur. Quiet as the proverbial church mouse.
On my sports talk radio show, ten years ago every other caller wanted to talk TU basketball during the season. Hardly a text message these days.
Empty seats is the topic of conversation at every game. Even the Memphis game had 2,000 empty seats in an 8,000 seat arena. That is unacceptable.
Bills have to be paid and fans have to be satisfied.
Thursday's triple overtime loss to Marshall could not have been a better example of the Doug Wojcik in his first seven years.
Great chances to win, come close, only to fall short again because of a missed free throw here, a turnover there. Agony.
I must tell you, there are times when even sports reporters hurt inside watching a team they cover for years fail in tough situations.
I know we are supposed to be objective, but in this case I could not help it. With each lost ball in all three overtimes Thursday, I found myself cringing.
Why? I really don't know. Maybe it is seeing the pain on the players faces when they play as hard as they can, only to get ousted - knowing the coach is on the hot seat.
Seeing Wojcik trying to be stoic so his kids do not see his pain. His Navy background allowing him to not lose his composure as he tries to get his kids over the hump.
Maybe that is the problem. Never getting them over the hump, despite giving it all the effort, all the commitment, every ounce of energy.
TU has a decision to make.
Stick with a coach, knowing many in the fan base would object to an eighth year, yet realizing his players have never embarrassed the University of Tulsa.
Or find someone else.
Another coach willing to take on the task at the smallest school in Division-1 athletics, with a healthy NCAA resume. Seven years at a school that has been NCAA worthy in the past is long enough to prove something. Has it been proof positive?
The problem. The NCAA resume is aging, and it needs to be revised.
Some have suggested it would be better for both Wojcik and the school to part ways.
If that is the case, here is hoping Wojcik can find something to his liking before TU has to make the move.
That too, would be better for both parties.
Getting fired does not look good on a resume either.
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