Lloyd Carr and the Hotseat

Submitted by Brian on August 24th, 2006 at 4:43 PM

I try to ignore CFN because it has all the bad bits of the mainstream media without any of the useful ones like actual reporting. But Google News does not discriminate, and my search for "Lloyd Carr" turned up this Matthew Zemek column which was the proverbial straw on my ever-fragile camel's back. He tut-tuts about the shoddy treatment given to Lloyd Carr:

The heat Lloyd Carr has had to deal with at Michigan has been understandable in certain pockets (losing to Notre Dame on an almost annual basis, for example), but is unfathomable in its sustained and overall ferocity. Carr has delivered a national title to Ann Arbor, and earned Rose Bowl berths in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He has a winning record against Ohio State, and graduates his players. Yes, five of his 11 seasons have failed to either gain double-digit wins or claim a Big Ten title, but that means that the other six seasons have been successful. And yet, Carr is an unpopular figure these days in the shadow of the Big House. That’s a perfect example of how scrutiny on coaches is so often misplaced and, moreover, excessive.

Says who? The idea that Lloyd Carr is "on the hotseat" comes entirely from the media. Extrapolating from Michigan's historically bad 7-5 record and a couple FireCoachX websites, one media caveman wildly speculates that Carr must win or leave:

Year in and year out, no Big Ten team is more disappointing. The common denominator: coaching. Hmmmm. Let's call this a make-or-break season for Lloyd Carr. He can handle it, right?

Some may think Carr isn't on a hot seat. Maybe that person is Mrs. Carr.

A second grunts in agreement, implying that he may not believe Carr should go but the fans are pounding on the door, demanding that he be placed in the "hot seat" section:

16. Hot seat (cont.)
We don't necessarily agree with these names but here goes ...

Larry Coker has had the temerity to go 9-3 in consecutive seasons.

Lloyd Carr is coming off Michigan's worst season in 21 years.

A third adds a note of hectoring disapproval:

I have some bad news for the webmasters of FireLloydCarr.com, FireLloydCarrNow.com, FireLloydandTommy.blogspot.com: Carr isn't going anywhere, except to work tomorrow. He'd rather dot the i on Script Ohio than walk away -- or be told to walk away -- from the only college head coaching job he has ever known.

Michigan lets it be known that Lloyd Carr is not going anywhere; this causes the original grunter to write possibly the dumbest column in the history of man:

So, Michigan's brass boldly states that Lloyd Carr is "here to stay."

What did you expect the guys sitting in the high-back leather chairs to utter in August? That Carr was on the hot seat? That Carr had to win the Big Ten this year -- or he would be fired?

Yeah, right. It's just more blabber from the Ann Arbor ivory tower.

Soon relatively blameless local beat writers are getting in on the act, writing sentences about the "controversy" that cite air:

Meanwhile, archrival Michigan has something of a coaching controversy on its hands, as Carr has come under fire following Michigan’s 7-5 season in 2005.

Relatively blameless local beat writer does not indicate where the fire comes from, but I'll tell you. It comes from his colleagues, be they print guys or talk radio droolers. The reason the airwaves are filled with talk of Carr on the hotseat is the same reason Drew Sharp has a column: negative stupidity gets attention.

Sure, there is a certain segment of the fanbase that prints up signs comparing Carr to Osama Bin Laden and nearly gets punched by me before the Penn State game, but they are the lunatic fringe. FireCoachX or FireCoachX.us or CanCoachX are the lunatic fringe of the Internet fanbase, which means they're lunatic indeed. Just because talk radio is filled with tough guys from Warren who demand excellence does not imply anything about the fanbase at large. For perspective, this site gets something on the order of 3,500 uniques per day. A large number of comments is 50, and usually those feature a number of posts from a small subset of people having a discussion. Regular commenters make up under 1% of the site's readership. Now take that, magnify the fanbase by several orders of magnitude, and restrict comments to 20 or so: talk radio callers are statistically insignificant electrons orbiting the fanbase nucleus. To extrapolate the desires of an entire fanbase from the segment of it that is only allowed plastic spoons at dinner is akin to assuming that every newspaper story is a complete fabrication because of Jayson Blair.

They aren't. It's just the ones about Carr and the hotseat.

....aaaand I'm done beating this particular dead horse.

Update: Aaaaaaaaaaargh.