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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

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So they are all out of here, the lot of them, Andy Reid and Charlie Manuel, Doug Collins and Peter Laviolette, a clear-the-bases, one-year-swing grand slam.
Argue each case, analyze the reasons for the moves, acknowledge that each circumstance was different. But they are gone, replaced by new coaches with fresh, multi-year contracts. So it will be two years --- and probably longer --- before there is another head-coaching switch for the Sixers, Flyers, Eagles or Phillies.
All of which means one thing: The general managers should start working their job-contact networks.
Sam Hinkie, in his first season in charge of the Sixers’ rebuilding, is safe. Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ G.M. since 2010, should survive one more losing season, two at the most. But Ruben Amaro Jr. and Paul Holmgren would probably be wise to duck.
Holmgren should be in the Flyers’ Hall of Fame. He’s had a strong run as the G.M., pushing his team into the Stanley Cup finals once, then making the tough but necessary decision to remove the irritants that were Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. But while it appeared that he’d acquired some valuable young talent in return, it’s growing clear with each shift that he has not assembled a hockey club capable of scoring often enough to contend.
Holmgren bounced John Stevens in favor of Laviolette, and then replaced Laviolette with Craig Berube. And that’s about the limit. Either Berube succeeds, or the next coaching change will be made by Ron Hextall, who is already on site. Hey, if Bobby Clarke can be an ex-Flyers general manager, then no franchise legend is really safe.
Amaro, whose connections with the Phillies are two-generations deep, is going to be a tough test case for David Montgomery. But he became the Phillies’ general manager the day after their 2008 championship parade and for so many reasons — injuries, age, too many Laynce Nix level talent miscalculations — the Phillies are an 89-loss team, just five years later. Another losing season, and he can have the office next to Ed Wade, who has the one next to Dallas Green, and someone else can try to rebuild the Phillies.
I don’t get why Jimmy Buffet is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Big East basketball media day is Wednesday in New York, and for the first time in decades, the organized story-spinning is going to be necessary. If ever a conference needed to reintroduce itself — and to position the spotlights just the right way — it is the reconfigured, non-football, non-BCS former Catholic 7.
There will be TV money and coaching stars and tradition, nationally ranked teams, major markets and the potential for basketball excellence. But no matter how the Not-as-Big East is presented, no conference was more damaged by the recent swirl of realignment.
Butler, Xavier and Creighton are interesting … but they are not Notre Dame, Louisville, Connecticut or Syracuse. That means the Big East has a gap to bridge. And while it is easier to do so in basketball than in football, the potential for falling into it has never been greater.
Get Hamlet?
Those who insist that coaching pro football and coaching college football are completely different jobs — and that those who move from the one to the other are doomed to look foolish — have one more exhibit of evidence.
Lane Kiffin, groomed in the pro game and the former Oakland Raiders coach, was proven to be overmatched at both Tennessee and USC, two programs where it is almost impossible not to succeed.
So, yes, it can be easier to coach in the antiseptic NFL than it is in the college game, where recruiting, alumni relations, parents and admissions offices can conspire to run the ultimate prevent defense.
Oh? You thought it was just the other way around --- that the college coaches were overmatched at the pro level? Surprise.
It’s OK for high schools to organize gangs of students to collide with one another at high speeds while wearing armor, often violently. Football, some like to call it.
But those same grown-ups who authorize such carrying-on are also quick to prevent it if anyone is in risk of getting a little wet.
Hey, if there is lightning in the area, pull the players off the field and the fans out of the stands. But for the sake of all things Americana, don’t postpone high school football games because it is raining. Because if it is acceptable to charge an admission fee to watch those very players risk drawing blood, then trying to protect them from becoming muddy is just too soggy with hypocrisy.
Craig Berube bristled when was asked about being known as a fighter on the day he was named the Flyers’ head coach.
"What do you mean, a ‘fighter’?" he said. "If I was a fighter, I’d have been in boxing."
All of which brought to mind, and then into conversation, the brief career in the legitimate ring of former Phantoms enforcer Frank Bialowas, who was so pounded in a heavyweight mismatch at the Ice Works in Aston that he went all no-mas on that idea and never fought — err, boxed — again.
Reminded of that story, Berube just moved on.
n Though the characterization of Kelly as the most tenured Philadelphia major-league coach was more whimsical than accusational, Union coach John Hackworth was right to kick up a mini-protest. It wasn’t that his ego required him to be at the top of the list, which he would be. It was that by every definition, the Union is as major as any franchise in the region.
Hey, even if it was just a touring, in-training version, that was Celtic FC that came to Chester in 2010 and lost, 1-0, to the Union. That alone is proof that the MLS is major league in more than just its letterhead — not some convoluted indoor-football nonsense.
Just put it this way: I am giving the two-finger point-to-the-eyes I’m-watching-you signal to a certain Jadaveon Clowney.


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