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February 9, 2006

I am tired of Felton's Whining


Stop whining and win.

In Thursday's Macon Telegraph, Dennis Felton said:
"I've been disappointed in our crowds this year," Felton said. "Sometimes I don't know if our fans understand how special it is what we've already accomplished this year. I don't sense it."
He describes it as a "sad commentary" on the state of UGA hoops affairs that three busloads of Tennessee fans got tickets to to come see the game in Athens.

My first question is..."What on earth is he talking about?" We have accomplished nothing this year of note except that we've stopped being rock bottom in the SEC. Is that the new standard he's grading us against? We're better than last year? How about we shoot a bit higher.

We've lost to Old Dominion and Auburn (the worst team in the SEC over the past 20 years not coached by Dennis Felton last year). We've beaten exactly one team from another conference with a winning record. And we're playing sub-500 SEC ball currently. Yet this is a special season?


The shortest movie ever produced. An instructional video on Felton's offense.

Sorry to crap all over his progress. But give me a gigantic break. I find his comments astonishingly obnoxious, completely pointless and totally contradictory to his past statements on UGA hoops.

In an interview with the Athens Banner Herald on Dec. 4, 2004, Felton was interviewed for an article on the 100 Year History of Georgia Hoops. In that article, he described our tradition as:
"There has been consistency - it's been consistently mediocre."
Using a similar grading curve, I would label his three year tenure to date as sub-mediocre. If our 100 years of UGA history is mediocrity, then his three year tenure ranks as well below our own historical standards as his record at Georgia is 38-42 overall and 13-28 in the SEC.

Furthermore, his comments are completely without merit as Saturday's game vs. UT will be a sellout. There were less than 300 tickets remaining yesterday, and there were less than 40 remaining as of around 4:00 pm today. Why bother to say that now?

So what if 500 or even 1,000 UT fans are in attendance? If you win the damn game, they'll sit quitely. Just like the Tech fans did.

Groo at UGASports.com had a great point:
...you can get in a hurry and get ahead of yourself. People were willing to be patient with this program and tolerate bad losses and the record last season because everyone knows the circumstances. If you want to start talking like a coach expecting big crowds and NCAA consideration, don't lose to Auburn, beat a ranked team, sustain some success, and get various parts of the team to show up every night.

We're at a very awkward time right now. It's easy to leave behind the days of "hey, we got an SEC win isn't that great?!" and try to leap straight to the chest-thumping "show me the respect we command". If we don't beat UT and/or Kentucky at Rupp, we're right back to 4-7 in the league and talking about how we should be happy that we doubled our win total from last year.
To that I reply with EXACTLY!

It's very hard to take his whining seriously on this topic given that it isn't the first time. He whined about attendance shortly after losing to Winthrop at home by 20 points two years ago.

You want consistent sellouts? Try consistently winning.

As Groo alluded, it appears that Felton wants us be patient with him and not care that his team doesn't show up to play offense or defense some nights. To not care that his team scored less than 40 a game multiple times last season. To not care that we've lost to Winthrop, Old Dominion and Auburn teams that Ollie from Hoosiers would look down upon. Apparently, that is all part of the growing process.

But, he wants us to sellouts right now despite the GLACIER-like pace of program building? Building fan support gradually isn't part of his vision for the growing process.

What sense does that make? And furthermore, why even say the negative stuff that reinforces the perception of UGA hoops when....hello...we WILL have a sellout this weekend.

He wants big time support without complaining and tons of patience. That's ridiculous. That's not what fans of any program do.

If you want unconditional support and love even when you constantly screw up, then buy a puppy or find religion.


If he expects crowds that follow big time programs, then he can start expecting the criticism that coaches at big time programs have to live with.

pwd


BTW -- I'm fully aware of how we got in this mess. I don't blame all of the losses on him. I was willing to sit fairly quietly and let him build. But if he won't sit quietly wthout bitching about the fans, then I'm not sitting quietly and not bitching about his coaching.

34 comments:

steve said...

I usually agree with you on almost all points with regard to UGA sports, but on this topic, I strongly disagree with you. I agree Felton complains a lot about all sorts of things, it shows he cares and that he does have something to say. Felton doesn't like to rag on fans, he actually wants to be like a Bruce Pearl for UGA. Pearl was given a far better situation than Felton and he was embraced immediately by the Tennessee fan base, even before the Texas game. Georgia football had some rough years 1993-1996 and during 1989 and 1990, but fans showed up unconditionally. It is a cultural double standard and Felton has to make a decision... I think he'll leave in 3 or 4 years.

Anonymous said...

At least you aren't coached by Mike Davis

C. Paul said...

I think Coach Felton's comments are being blown way out of proportion to the extent of the Vent's total meltdown and your post.

What Dennis Felton inherited in 2003 was beyond "bottom of the barrel" status. He has built the program up, recruited reasonably well, and made them respectable (both on the court and off).

If he wants to vent about fan support, which frankly is below-average regardless of the past, I think that's ok.

Enjoy the blog as always-

Anonymous said...

That is the most ridiculous post I have ever read.

Of course he is mad that it is a sell-out......hello......it doesn't really count as a sell-out if the opposing fans are the reason for the sell-out.

UGA fans simply don't care about basketball. Unfortunately, that's why CDF will be hired away sometime in the next 3 years. I applaud him calling out the fans.

Unfortunately, some fans have had their soft underbelly exposed, and they are crying about it.

paulwesterdawg said...

There won't be 2,000 UT fans there. When UK fans are at their absolute best, they don't bring 2,500.

This entire "UT is going to buy all our tickets" thing is what's blown out of control.

pwd

paulwesterdawg said...

You said..."Unfortunately, that's why CDF will be hired away sometime in the next 3 years."


As long as he keeps recruiting like he is now, then more power to him. If he turns this program enough to actual get considered for another job, then that's probably a good sign for UGA. It means we're not sub-500 anymore.

Just so long as our next coach has more to work with than Felton did when he got here.

pwd

paulwesterdawg said...

anon - re: mike davis.

He's my people. IU fans are just unreasonable in their contempt for him, and he's handled many contract issues poorly.

I've got a soft spot for the guy. Two of my great aunts taught him in the first de-segregated classes of Fayette, Alabama history.

pwd

Billybobdawg said...

I agree with you pwd. Coach could have expressed himself in a positive manner.

Doug said...

Ahh, the old "chicken and the egg" question -- do you need a good team to bring the fans in, or do you need a big fan presence to pump up the team?

I guess I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I can't say I've been too thrilled with the fan presence so far either, and I can sympathize with Felton's frustration.

On the other hand, though, it's not like Felton didn't know two things when he was getting into this job: 1) Football is king at UGA, for better or for worse, and basketball is always going to be in its shadow, and 2) it was going to take a lot of work to revive a dispirited fan base in the wake of the Jim Harrick Xperience. Lecturing the fans isn't going to solve either of these problems. I agree with billybobdawg -- instead of talking down to the fans, express yourself positively and give them a reason to get pumped up.

Jeff said...

I posted this on the vent yesterday, but my beef with Felton started off his first year. I read on the ABH how he redecorated his office in all tan and brown, he won't wear anything red on game days, he does crap like this to the fans, etc.

I don't doubt he's a good coach. We are notably better, though is that because we actually have a full plate of players now? Who knows.

But yeah, my beef is with his attitude as a coach. I want someone that will bleed Red and Black and be a UGA man first and foremost. Sure he wants to win, but I feel it's because he wants to move on to the next level and needs the wins to boost his resume. I just get the impression he doesn't care about UGA's past or future really.

If he wants butts in the seats, prove to me that you want to convert UGA into a baskeball school. Sad to say, UF's got a good thing going right now...Football AND basketball success. And they sell out both. There's no reason we couldn't do that either. But I feel that Billy Donovan bleeds orange and blue...or at least he has me thinking he does. Felton does NOT give me the vibe he bleeds red and black..and as technically unimportant as it is to the outcome of the game, indirectly it does.

Just my 2 cents.

Dawgnoxious said...

While I generally take a more forgiving posture towards Felton than PWD, I have to say I'm kind of tired of the way Felton is so antagonistic toward the fans.

Felton's general lack of charisma and refusal to connect with the fans is a big problem. I kind of think he thinks UGA is beneath him. I truly believe that if he spent more time cultivating fan loyalty he'd reap more personal goodwill.

Do I think Bruce Pearl really likes his contemptible orange blazer? No. He wears it as a nod to the fans and as an unspoken admission that he embraces where he is and who he is with. Ask Felton to wear a f*cking red tie it's like you asked him to pay your mortgage.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that people like to back a winner. I understand that when people are as emotionally invested in something like so many are with our Dawgs, it is painful to spend two hours watching the team you love get pulverized. So, while I think fan apathy is a bad thing, it's hardly surprising.

The real culprits are the lower-level season ticket holders who won't get off their ass and attend. If you care enough to buy tickets, care enough to use them. I don't have a beef with someone who doesn't have tickets deciding not to drive from Atlanta (even though PWD and I do regularly).

dawgfan said...

even when people called steve spurrier's coach's show to criticize, he would always thank them for their comments. you don't get the feeling that felton appreciates the fans at all in any way. one thing coach richt does is connect with the fan base and exhibit humility in an atmosphere of overinflated egos. that's one of Richt's charms, and he uses it, knowingly or not, to make him effective in his message. his loyalty to UGA is all over him, and fans see this. Donnan had the same problem Felton has. He doesn't really act like he wants to be one of us.

ATLDAWG said...

Interesting comments, and honestly I think I agree with everyone. That said, I'm not upset with Felton, maybe he hates red ties, I dont know. And maybe he doesn't have a lovefest with the fans (who cares) but I gaurantee he stands behind his boys, and I feel that's where its coming from. He sees his kids busting their tails every day and I think he would simply like a few folks to recognize their efforts.

I went to a game the other week ago (Bama) and the 5 of us that went looked out at the crowd, then eachother, and in unison said, "this is pathetic". Honestly my old Highschool brought more fans. Heck, their are 30k kids in that town, I don't think 400 of them made it to the game. Worst crowd I have ever seen. I think Felton's a straight shooter, and that's calling a spade a spade, our crowds suck.

It ain't the NBA, you're supposed to support them through thick and thin.

paulwesterdawg said...

ATLDawg - we had just lost to Auburn in the worst televised exhibition of UGA basketball in my lifetime.

The team that lost to Auburn looked like it had hit rock bottom and was looking for a place to dig.

What did you expect from a weeknight crowd given the AU showing?

Anonymous said...

Usually love your stuff, DD/PWD, but you're off base on this one, IMHO. First, you seem to be massively over-reacting to a passing comment made to the Macon paper. Felton does not seem to be making a big deal about this.

Second, the pace of the rebuilding effort is NOT "glacial." You can carry on all you want about Auburn, but we would not have beat Vandy last week (or Bama, for that matter) if the team were not vastly better than it was last year. "Vastly better in one year" does not equal "glacial," at least not the glaciers I know.

Would it have been better if Felton kept his mouth shut on this completely? There, I think we agree. But, it seems to me, you are being way too negative over a minor matter.

paulwesterdawg said...

"Vastly better in one year"

Vastly better than the worst SEC Team in 20 years is not a "special season". He used that term. Not me.

And it's not the first time he's used that term to talk about this season.

He can't have it both ways. He can't take a huge shit all over UGA's limited b-ball tradition and then call his progress --- which remains well below .500 over the past three years -- "special."

Felton should have said..."I'm glad it looks like we're going to have a sellout vs. the Vols. I wish there were fewer tickets purchased by Vols, but we're making progress. First comes sellouts then comes sellouts all dressed in red.(except me of course b/c I'm above that)."

I'm not harping on the Auburn loss. It was what it was.

He wants more attention paid to the program. I'm paying it.

pwd

Tennvolchamp said...

Put UT in this conversation and you'd have a copy of the dialogue we've had in Knoxville that past 10 years (especially Kentucky week, event East TN State in some years brought lots of fans into our cavernous, lifeless arena). If we weren't winning, Pearl's charm would only go so far in selling tickets and if sustained would grow very thin. Fortunately, we're winning. So even if Felton showed up in a Hugh Duhram sport coat, that'd buy him some emotional credit with the fans, but if he doesn't win who'd care in the long run.

While maybe not as low as when Felton took over, it wasn't like Pearl took over a bunch of Naismith candidates. Sometimes, the new blood and style re-energizes things (something the anti-Fulmer crowd would like to try out - I'm not one of them, ... yet.)

stick jackson said...

Me again -- if I'm going to argue I should "identify" myself. Yes, "vastly better in one year." Last year's team team was indescribably awful. This year's team is mediocre. That's vastly better.

Last year's team was Auburn-bad almost every game. This year's team beat Vandy up there. That's vastly better. "Better," as you know, is a relative, not an abslolute term.

"Special" is changing the subject, but while we're on that subject, I agree with you this team has not, in any meaningful sense, shown any sign of being special. But we don't need to be "special" for him to be doing a great job, given the post-Harrick context. And I don't harp on less-than-perfect quotes or wardrobe choices of UGA coaches who are doing a great job. But that's just me.

paulwesterdawg said...

Stick - we're into semantics then.

I wouldn't have gone ballistic if he hadn't used the term "special."

That was the part that set me off. Otherwise, it's just an off the cuff complaint no biggie. Going as far as to justify his annoyance with our lack of attendance with the special comment is what really puts the burr in my saddle.

I've said many times on the blog and on various message boards that this team is *dramatically* better than last year.

In particular the work he's done with Idrissi and Gaines is impressive.

But "Special?" Hardly.

Then again, maybe I'm overly judging the choice of words from a guy who's favorite adverb is "very."

The choice of clothes bugs the hell out of me, but it's not what set me off.

pwd

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see somone else is tired of Felton's pissing and moaning. Yes, he's made great strides from where UGA hoops was 2 years ago. BUT DAMN! How many games do you figure we've lost because we shot 20+ 3-pointers in a single game. I figure at least 3 or 4 games alone this year.Felton has publicly admitted he "a defensive guy". Well who the hell's coaching rebounding, and most of all FREE THROWS! This bunch of Dawgs only goal is to consistantly launch threes, or see who can get a breakaway dunk. This is not basketball, it's 5 single games of one on one!

paulwesterdawg said...

Actually, if you look at the stats since SEC Play started, our FT shooting isn't that bad.

And we're near the top of the league in offensive rebounding. However, the delta between our offensive rebouding stats in the wins vs. the losses is jaw dropping.

The problem is that we get to the free line fewer than any team I've seen in a long time.

pwd

stick jackson said...

We are, as Orson would say, teh suxors inside, even with the improvement in Idrissi and flashes from Bliss and Woodbury. Until we get a lot better up front, as pwd notes, we are going to shoot abnormally low numbers of free throws.

That's a problem. It's like a football team that can't run -- you make the game a lot harder than it needs to be.

And, until we get to that point, I'm reserving judgement on just how nonexistent DF's offensive coaching skills are. If the D has no reason to respect the inside game, they can make everything else look pretty ragged and disorganized (which is unquestionably how we look some of the time).

Anonymous said...

I think Felton believes this could still be a special season. Who knows? Maybe it will be. Without analyzing it we seem to be getting better as the season progresses

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen anybody mention the situation that Felton came into (maybe I missed it). Harrick, as much success as he had, left the program in a collosal mess. I think that Felton has the program headed in the right direction and the young pups need to know that he is looking out for them and for the program. So, maybe you don't like the guy, but give him some credit. Especially with what he has had to work with.

Anonymous said...

pwd...I see your BTW comment at the bottome of your post (I did miss it)...my bad. I still think that should be given more consideration and for you keep in mind that the team is still very young in a lot of ways.

paulwesterdawg said...

taking things into consideration....


what's to take into consideration? I don't think he "sux". I just think he's a whiner.And that's got nothing to do with what Harrick did to the program.

That's a topic for another thread.

pwd

Aladawg said...

I'm losing all respect for this blog. All you have done is abuse the Coach. I personally think there has been significant progress and if I lived close enough I would be helping him fill the seats. Give the guy half a chance. I'm disappointed in you.
Aladawg

Woofer said...

Good giggly wiggly Paul, who didn't get enough sleep last night. The man called the crowd "disappointing". You'd have thought he called us a bunch of fat, lazy rednecks. Astonishingly obnoxious?...I think you are being a bit thin-skinned.
Let's not kid ourselves, Felton is not our problem and implying he is will accomplish nothing but alienating him. We need him more than he needs us right now and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I agree with you that he would have been better off begging for support rather than lecturing the fan base. If he wants love he needs to show love but I'm sure he is frustrated and in a hurry to turn things around. He knows he is not going to get a raise nor a better job offer until he turns around a bad situation that he did not cause.
Cut the guy some slack. Once he gets some beef up front I think he can build something really good. Let's not get adversarial with the coach. It will serve absolutely no purpose. Just one guy's opinion.

Anonymous said...

"We need him more than he needs us right now"

Where's he going to go? Murray State?

Woofer said...

I sincerely hope he is not going anywhere but we will find out in a couple of years. One thing is for damn sure: Felton has a better reputation as a coach than we do as a "basketball school".

paulwesterdawg said...

Woofer - He has a better rep than UGA?

Be serious.

How many NCAA Tourney games has he won? How many major conference titles has he won? Tourneys? Anything.

I mean be serious.

The guy won the Sun Belt, looks great in a suit and recruits out of his head. Otherwise...what has he accomplished in his career so far?

Get real.

pwd

Anonymous said...

PWD, you have hit the nail on the nose on almost all of your comments about DF. If you will notice he has never coached a bad game, only the players lose the game by not hitting 3's or lack of defensive effort, poor FT shooting, etc. it goes on and on but when he happens to win he wants all the credit that the players are grasping his system. BS, BS, BS. All he does is whine and complain about the athletic dept, the fan support, referees and being so young. Jim Harrick left him a heck of a lot better starting line-up and a top 5 recruiting class that he ran off than he has produced since he has been here. I am sure the team he has now would be pretty good in the Sun Belt but he is in the SEC which is as bad as it has been in the past 10 years. I venture that there will not be a single SEC team in the Sweet 16 this year. Look at the preseason schedule when he won 10 of his 14 wins and check all their w-l records. 4 of them haven't won over 5 games all season. Only ONE he defeated has an RPI greater than UGA. I agree if this is SPECIAL then I don't want anything SUPER SPECIAL. Old Time UGA BB fan

Woofer said...

pwd - I am talking about reputation, not history. His current reputation is one of being a damn good recruiter and good coach. Right now our reputation is "a football school that plays basketball in a friggin cow palace"...AND has to cheat to win. I hope that will change but we are going to have to hang on to good coach for that to happen. I personally hope Felton is that guy but we shall see.

I guarantee he won't be running his mouth and handling issues in the newspaper in the future. Hell, when you are African American and TERRANCE MOORE jumps your ass about whining, you gotta KNOW the media is not the place to work your problems out....I never thought I would be defending a black man against the wrath of Terrance Moore!

paulwesterdawg said...

Woofer. We agree 1,000% on that last comment.

Great comment. And not just b/c you agree with me. lol.

 
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