A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Ty Still Makes Cut With UW Fans
This is what led me to McCormick Woods on Tuesday, the most recent stop on the Husky Coaches Golf Tour.
At these events, coaches and alums and fans play golf together, and then the alums and fans have dinner while the coaches tell them how good the team is going to be.
Coach Willingham probably said that coach Willingham hopes for improvement from his young men this season. I don’t know if he did because I had a ferry to catch but have heard him speak before.
The man concerns me. He appears to be turning the team around and doing it with players who don’t break the law. It’s a disturbing thought for a Coug: Rival school with dull coach gets good again with squeaky clean young men.
If I’m a Huskies fan, I’m mostly optimistic about the possibilities but wary of the schedule and wishful thinking that has backfired before. So it was with the Huskies fans I met at McCormick Woods.
Upon arrival at the pro shop, I talked to a U-Dub staffer who had some advice.
“If I can make a suggestion with Tyrone, he’s not one to bother while he’s golfing,” she said.
When I approached the 10th tee, Willingham was on the 10th fairway, and I almost went out there to bother him but stopped because I didn’t have good questions and he wouldn’t have good quotes even if I did.
Huskies fans would be more interesting. For the next 68 minutes, I slaved away in front of the snack shack, bothering golfers in carts who had gaudy purple bags along with assorted W’s on their shirts and caps.
(The girl at the snack shack said alcohol sales were slow, proof that this wasn’t a stop on the Cougar Coaches Golf Tour.)
This survey, as with all Go 2 Guy surveys, was really unscientific. Yet it yielded the most astonishing quote of the year.
“I like his personality,” Jim Furstenwerth of Port Orchard said of Willingham.
“His what?” I asked.
“He’s a good politician,” Furstenwerth said. “He says the right things.”
Several Huskies fans were asked if they would give Willingham two thumbs up after two seasons, one thumb up and one thumb down, or two thumbs down.
Furstenwerth was a two-thumbs-upper, as were Dave Bjorke and his nephew Bjorn.
“I like the coach, he’s good for the kids,” said Dave Bjorke, who owns Uncle Dave’s CafÃ© in Port Orchard.
I was looking for two-thumbs -downers but couldn’t find any. The best I came up with was Dave Preston, who was a one-up, one-down guy.
“He’ll get the program going in the right direction, but I don’t know if he’s innovative enough to take it as far as it needs to go,” Preston said.
A prominent former Huskies football player has said that many U-Dub fans would prefer Jim Mora as coach, and Preston is one of them.
“That’s who I hoped would be coach to begin with,” Preston said. “He’s highly qualified and a little more progressive in style. But it’s too soon and unfair to pull the plug on Willingham. He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Sean, a Huskies fan who didn’t want to give out his last name, fearing what, I don’t know, said: “I think Ty’s a little overhyped. You talk to some of the alums, and they’re like: ‘Is there something else?’ They’re happy to have Ty, but they’re not enamored with Ty.”
Sean saw Willingham on the range and asked him about his handicap. “He’s a 7,” Sean said. “He’s not recruiting hard enough if he’s a 7.”
Fans were also asked on a scale of 1 to 10 where they’d rate their level of excitement for the coming year — 1 being not fired up at all, and 10 being lathered up already.
The answers ranged from 5 to 9. The Bjorkes both said 9, proving that alcohol sales must have been brisk somewhere on the course.
Steve Galvagno of Snohomish weighed in with a 7 1/2, saying: “We’re going to start winning games we should win because of Willingham.”
Keith Palmer said he was a realist and rated himself a 6. The schedule worries him. If the Huskies don’t win their opener at Syracuse, they could be 0-5 when October rolls around with September games against Boise State, Ohio State, UCLA and USC.
“Whatever they do, I won’t be disappointed,” Palmer said.