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ULM Gets Petty With Peddie – From the Bird’s Nest

photo courtesy sunbeltsports.org

On May 13, UL Monroe interim baseball coach Bruce Peddie had the interim tag removed from his title, becoming the Warhawks’ head coach, replacing Jeff Schexnaider, who was fired near the midway point of the season.

And, there was good reason for the decision to make Peddie the permanent coach.  Peddie had taken a moribund team and played .500 ball the rest of the season and the Warhawks qualified for the Sun Belt Tournament.  You could have won a lot of money making that prediction back when ULM was 1-5 in league play, and looked bad doing it.

The day the announcement was made, I tweeted it was a good move by the ULM administration, particularly Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom.

It took Wickstrom oh, about thirty seconds to give that a re-tweet.

Once the season ended, it was discovered that Peddie was only being offered a one year deal.  Tabby Soignier, the ULM beat writer (and recently promoted to sports editor) discovered Peddie’s contract was on the UL Board of Supervisors’ agenda for their July meeting, despite being told by Wickstrom the contract wouldn’t be drawn up until June or July, according to Soignier’s article.

Note to AD.  Do not tell fibs to the media.  And, don’t compound it by suggesting you’re being thrown under the bus.  It’s not the media’s job to make you look good.

Soignier’s article, which appeared in the June 3 issue of the Monroe News-Star said Wickstrom referred all questions about the contract length to ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno.

Now, anyone who follows college athletics will tell you that a one-year contract is the kiss of death.  It’s hard to sign kids in the spring signing period to help the 2015 team and will be even harder to sign players in the Fall, 2015 signing period.

Can you see the conversation now?

“Son, if you go ahead and sign with us, you can make an immediate contribution to this team.”

“Coach, I like you.  I want to play for you.  But are you going to be my coach?”

“I don’t know, son. Maybe.  Maybe not.”

Soignier contacted the ULM president. who was quoted in the article as saying:

“I don’t buy (other schools) using it against you (in recruiting),” Bruno said. “The kids dealing with coach Peddie who are here and the opportunity to talk to coaches who have talked to him, so far they are working hard to be successful for him also.”

Huh?

Schools don’t use it against you in recruiting?  Really?

Methinks Dr. Bruno needs to spend more time finding out that one year contracts are recruiting killers and less time fighting about the athletic branding of a certain state institution.

All of the other coaches of major sports (football, men’s and women’s basketball) at ULM have multi year contracts.  (The same is true of the coaches at UL.) Bruno says the reason Peddie was only offered a one year deal is because he was already at ULM and didn’t have to uproot his family (whom of course, he uprooted in order to take the assistant’s job.) and didn’t have to deal with APR issues like some of the other coaches at the school.

And, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Bruno also said Peddie would have a chance to prove himself.  Wait a second.  Wasn’t that the reason he got the job?  Did he not turn around a terrible baseball team?  Evidently someone decided that wasn’t proof enough.

For Peddie, it’s just another challenge.  And, believe it or not, he’s in a better position than he was the last time.

Tom Walter resigned at the University of New Orleans to take the head coaching job at Wake Forest after the 2009 season.  Peddie was promoted to head coach.  Now, UNO had been facing severe financial issues ever since Hurricane Katrina.  A proposed student fee for athletics was voted down.  But Peddie took over the Privateers, believing things would work out.

He found out otherwise in November.  Scholarship offers were withdrawn across the board as UNO decided it would drop to Division III, a non-scholarship division.  With the rug already pulled out from under him, Peddie took the Privateers into a lame duck season in the Sun Belt Conference and went 13-39.  Following that season, all players were free to transfer to other schools.  (You may remember Mike Petello and Joe Zimmerman, who transferred into the Ragin’ Cajuns program.)

In 2011, playing as a Division I independent, and with all but a few players opting out, UNO went 4-50.  By this time, the administration had decided that UNO would be in Division II.
In 2012 UNO played a half D-1 and half D-2 schedule, with a scheduling agreement with the Gulf South Conference, the league that had accepted them for membership.  They went 17-27.

UNO then decided they were going to stay in Division I after all and they were accepted into the Southland Conference.  They would have to play one more year as a D-1 independent.  So, UNO played a D-1 schedule with D-II and D-III talent.

They went 7-44.  Peddie’s team was only in a conference for his first year and that was a lame duck season.  Before he could coach a game in the Southland Conference, he was fired.

So Peddie will enter 2015 with a team that just lost eleven seniors.  He has the players that Schexnaider signed last fall, and those he was able to ink this spring, despite not being given a vote of confidence by his employers.

Peddie is firmly behind the eight ball.  But he will put his head down and go to work.

After all,this isn’t the first time Bruce Peddie has been set up to fail.

 

 

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