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Monday November 27, 2000

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Media to blame

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By Chris Martin

Arizona Daily Wildcat

I am really disgusted to call myself a journalist after this weekend's transgressions.

Walking into the Arizona locker room following its defeat to Arizona State made me realize there are many more important things in life - and in football - than wins and losses.

Football is about relationships, family and the maturation of young men. I don't care if Arizona goes 11-0 next season - watching sophomore wide receiver Bobby Wade crying in Dick Tomey's arms after Tomey's resignation made my heart drop and made me wish the popular head coach would stroll the sidelines at Arizona Stadium next season.

It was clear that Tomey had made a huge impression on Wade's life after only two seasons at UA.

And it wasn't just Wade crying - numerous players, assistants and family members were in tears after Tomey resigned following the game.

He didn't have to resign, either. He said he had no choice because of the endless stream of criticism from the Tucson media and fans.

I don't blame the fans so much because I find that most fans believe what they read in papers, magazines and on the Internet. So when every media facility in the Tucson area is calling for Tomey's head for the second consecutive season, it is only a matter of time before the fans join in.

What the fans don't realize and what the media fails to cover is the impact Tomey and his staff have had on the lives of so many young men during his 14-years in Tucson.

He may have been a better father-figure than coach, but he always ran a clean program and the majority of his players graduated.

Many will claim that Tomey's main responsibility was wins and losses - I disagree. Wins are important and Tomey's career record shows he didn't do a bad job in the that category. Seven bowls in 14 years is great for a coach whose team is always second fiddle in a basketball town.

But even more important than the W's are the relationships. The media failed to realize the impact Tomey had on these young men. Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood wasn't going to fire Tomey. The head coach could have coached a much better Wildcat team next season. Unfortunately the Tucson media made Tomey's life (family, players and staff included) a living hell.

So next time people in this paper or the many other media outlets are going after a head coach, think of what is actually happening. Relationships are broken, jobs are lost and families are torn from their communities.

I hope that Arizona does the right thing and accommodates Tomey in a very generous and appreciative way. I suggest a position in the athletic department. Arizona would only be enhanced to keep a man of Tomey's character around the athletic department.