Yesterday, we were discussing the two in-state hoops jobs openings — particularly at UAB.
I suggested that Darrin Horn, present coach of the NKU Norse, may be a good fit. Horn was outstanding at Western Kentucky. Then, he got a major gig at South Carolina — a program Odom had left for dead, and did a serviceable job in the main. In his four years in Columbia, he was near .500 in three of them and made post-season play his first season. That got me thinking about Odom’s drop-off, and the two years his teams were left off the bubble and then went on to claim back-to-back NIT championships.
Since the Gamecocks won championships of a sort, the school did hang two banners — on the far end of the banner alley in Colonial Life Arena (the picture is crappy, but they’re on the far right at the very top of the screen, almost out of sight.)
They makes a certain sense, I suppose. Nearly every school hangs them for an NCAA appearance, a Sweet 16 and the like.
But then you have simply aberrant, clown-town stuff where banners are being hung for absolutely no discernible reason.
I give you perhaps the most egregious example to-date: the 2003 Ole Miss Rebels. That team finished 10-3, 7-1 in the SEC. It was a great season for Eli Manning. But, their sole conference loss was to a divisional opponent and rival, the LSU Tigers.
I’m not sure if you recall who actually won the SEC West that year...and the SEC...and the national title. But, if your memory is short, here ya’ go.
Despite the LSU Tigers thoroughly romping the Oklahoma Sooners and finishing 13-1 on the season; despite winning the divisional crown; despite the SEC Championship Saban’s Tigers claimed; and despite winning on the road over Ole Miss, the Rebels had this proudly plastered in Vaught Hemingway...
It wasn’t an oversight either — for the next twelve years it was a fixture of Ole Miss football. This monument to distorted history and moral victory was only retired in 2015, when VHS was being renovated.
So, that’s brings us to today’s question: Pick a sport, hell — pick several, and tell us when it is appropriate to hang a banner.
I’ll start. NIT banners? No, unless you make a final four in Madison Square Garden or (preferably) win it outright. Football? Undisputed division titles (be they tied or otherwise — and Ole Miss certainly was not a West Champion), conference titles, and national titles only. No celebration of bowl game appearances or almost-magical seasons.