Look, there are a lot of reasons for UConn's troubles this year, both on and off the court. There is no one thing fans can point to and blame, but I don't think I am alone in my frustration with Associate Head Coach George Blaney, who seems like a perfect counter-balance to Calhoun when they share the bench, but is incredibly passive when he's in the lead role.
Particular objections go out to Blaney's refusal to work the refs and -- even worse -- his consistent unwillingness to call timeouts to stop runs by opposing teams.
But UConn fans are not the first people to get upset with Blaney. One notable person to beat us to the punch is Bill Simmons, ESPN and Grantland's "Sports Guy," who attended Holy Cross in the early 90s, when Blaney was the coach there.
Here's Simmons from a March 2004 column:
When former Holy Cross coach George Blaney briefly took over for Jim Calhoun (battling a stomach virus) in Saturday's game, did any other HC grads think to themselves, "All right, they're up by 19, just 15 minutes left ... you know what? I think George can still blow this!"?
And here he is a year later, talking about a column he wrote for the Holy Cross student paper in 1992:
The one enjoyable part to me was the George Blaney potshot -- he was our men's hoop coach back then and I made it my goal in life to turn the campus against him, so I took unprovoked shots at him in just about everything I wrote. Amazingly, incredibly, he ended up getting hired by Seton Hall after I graduated, where he subsequently drove the program into the ground before they canned him. Now he's an assistant for Jim Calhoun at UConn. But that man drove me bonkers. During one home game, I even made a sign that read "CALL A TIMEOUT GEORGE!" that I held up every time the other team would go on one of those patented 10-0 runs where George would just stand there watching as the game slipped away. I'm getting worked up all over again just thinking about it.
Sound familiar UConn fans?