Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ron Polk is not a happy camper

You know how sometimes, after somebody's been around for awhile and has accomplished a few things, he starts to get something of an inflated opinion of himself and his place in the pecking order?

Well that's about where now former Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk is these days.

Since announcing his retirement earlier in the season, Polk openly and vocally campaigned for Tommy Raffo, who was on his staff. He felt Raffo was ready for the job and would ensure a smooth transition. Instead, incoming AD Greg Byrne opted for (now former) Kentucky head coach John Cohen. Despite Cohen's recent run of success - including an 18-0 start to this season, albeit against weak competition - Polk is miffed and making all sorts of threats.

Here's a sampling of the grumblings from Polk: (emphasis is mine)

"Now he's got me on the war path and all I can do is hurt him," Polk said of Byrne in a phone interview with The Associated Press from Athens, Ga., where he is watching Georgia play North Carolina State in an NCAA super regional. "I'm going to do everything I can to make his life miserable."
He's also working hard to disassociate himself from the baseball program that he built. FTA:
In addition to taking his name off the stadium, Polk said he will personally take down the banners that display his name and number. He also will use his influence to scuttle a number of support programs, such as the foster parent program and the Dugout Club. And he's taking Mississippi State athletics out of his will.
You have to respect Polk for the jobs he's done at MSU through the years. He's one of the most decorated college baseball coaches in history and his accomplishments speak for themselves.

That said, he's way off base here. While he may have thought Raffo was a better coaching candidate - and he might be - that's not the way his boss saw it. No childish temper tantrums like the ones he's already thrown - and apparently will continue to throw - are going to change that fact.

He's said that as long as Byrne is there, he won't support MSU athletics and they may not use his name on the Stadium. Taking his name off the field in Starkville means he thinks it was an honor for the stadium to bear his name... not the other way around. Threatening to urge Bullpen Club members to withhold donations will do nothing but hurt the program he dedicated the majority of his adult life to. It's going to hurt the returning and incoming players he has recruited. And to what end? He's really just coming off as an angry old man who is having difficulty adjusting to not being in a position of authority anymore.

His best move now would to be to drop the shenanigans, put his name back on the stadium and fade quietly into the sunset. If he doesn't want to support Cohen - who, by the way, is a former MSU player as well - then he doesn't have to. What he doesn't need to disrespect the loyal MSU fans that love their baseball program.

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