In the aftermath of his team's embarrassing defeat by Nevada-Las Vegas, San Francisco coach Bob Gaillard is talking of retiring. He has found that starting a dynasty is a thankless task.
In the aftermath of his team's embarrassing defeat by Idaho State, UCLA coach Gen Bartow is bracing himself for the negative reaction he is sure to receive from his alreadly boisterous critics in Los Angeles. He has found that perpetuating a dynasty is also a thankless task.
Gaillard and Bartow. Two coaches from different generations, different roots and of vastly different lifestyles. Two coaches who have found that winning is hardly everything it is made out to be .
Bartow will spend the summer knowing his team should never have lost to Idaho State, no matter how many times the sqauads played. UCLA is quicker, has better rebounders, better ability. But Thursday night, Idaho State had the better coach.
Despite knowing before hand that Idaho State would use a zone UCLA seemed at a loss as to how to attack that defense. The Bruins were careless and impatient, tossing up outside shots instead of working in closer. Despite numerous time-outs, Barlow couldn't get his players to be more disciplined.
Nor could he get Marques Johnson involved in the offense. Johnson had 19 points in the first half, but 13 came on follows of rebounds. In the second half, he moved from the inside to a wing, never got close to the boards and took only four shots. He finished with 21 points.
Johnson said afterward that his aching wisdom tooth bothered him greatly after intermission. "I was running out of gas," he said. But he never got a chance to use whatever energy he had left.
Idaho State, meanwhile, was patient and disciplined.The Bengals worked the ball inside consistently against UCLA's lethargic defense and were rewarded with 27 points from 7-foot center Steve Hayes.
In the end, Idaho State wiped out whatever mystique remained of the dynasty that John Wooden built at UCLA. The Bruins are mortal again, human enough to be beaten in this game by Ernie Wheeler, a reserve freshman guard from Southern California who made four free shows in the final 37 seconds.
Wooden's teams never lost to reserve freshmen guards from schools like Idaho State.
Nor did San Francisco teams with Bill Russell at center get blown out by 26 points, the margin of Las Vegas' triumph last week. And that is why Gaillard is talking of leaving the coaching profession.
He has found the pressure of winning, the expectations of fans and the criticism that comes with losing, not very satisfying. This should have been his most enjoyable season: 29 straight victories should bring smiles. Instead the year was racked by headaches, internal problems and constant worrying.
Things will get worse next year. San Francisco most likely will be rated No. 1 in the preseason polls since four starters return. But after witnessing the Dons' year-end collapse, there is a question in my mind whether they ever will win a national title as long as Jame Hardy remains unchanged.
Hardy could be a dominating forward in the mold of UCLA's great Sidney Wicks. But right now immaturity and emotion dominate him. A bad call or a harsh word from a teammate and Hardy will go into a shell and wind up contributing little.
In some ways, it's surprising San Francisco did so well this year. Hardy and forward Marlon Redmond disliked each other and never exchanged passes unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes reserves would refuse to enter games. Other times, players would argue during time-outs. Some dynasty.