Thursday, December 4, 2003

Fans react to Minter's firing

The University of Cincinnati fired football coach Rick Minter Monday following its third losing season in six years. After 10 seasons, Minter leaves as UC's all-time leader in both wins (53) and losses (63), and is the school's longest tenured coach.

We asked Bearcat fans to share their thoughts on Minter's firing, and on who should succeed Minter as the Bearcats prepare to move to the Big East Conference following the 2004 season:

Rick Minter should be congratulated on getting UC football on the map. But that said, it was time for him to go. His predictable play calling (i.e.: bringing the second string quarterback in on fourth and goal) was his downfall. The whole world knew he was going to run the ball. To get to the next level in the Big East, a new coach is needed. Good luck Coach Minter and thanks!

—Doug Hamilton, Cincinnati

I feel sorry for Minter. UC is an awful job due to total lack of support by the university for over 25 years. When Tony Mason went 9-2 in 1976 and cracked the Top 20, he left because the faculty voted to drop football and the president of the university was quoted in the newspaper as saying he could not guarantee that UC would continue its football program.

For years the program has suffered this kind of lack of support. I'm sure Minter's budget was low and the facilities are probably little different from when I was a redshirt freshman on Mason's team. The Big East is the big time. UC better step or they will be booted out of the league just like Temple. I feel sorry for Minter because he had some major victories against good teams with two hands tied behind his back.

—Robert Shaw, Cedar Falls, Iowa

I finished my final football update by saying thanks to Coach Minter, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. He turned around this once fledgling football program and brought it to a level of respectability that I thought I would never see. The all-time wins leader at UC earned four bowl appearances and a conference championship. He was a very hard worker and kept his players out of trouble and in class. Good luck on your future endeavors.

—Logan Link
President, Bearstatlink.Com

Rick Minter did a wonderful job. This is a tough football town, like he said. When I was in school, UC talked about eliminating football altogether. I hope Rick knows how much loyal UC fans appreciate him. So many previous coaches moved on after winning a big game, or a good season. He'll be missed for his loyalty. On a side note, I was still a UC basketball fan when they were 3-25. That wasn't all that long ago.

—Bruce Smith, Cincinnati

UC football had a losing season because of Coach Minter's self-fullfilling prophecy. "We're young and we lost all our playmakers. That was the reality of it."

Yes, the team is young, but it is loaded with talent that was not encouraged, believed in or inspired by the one man who should have done it - Minter. Over the entire season I heard him numerous times in public bemoaning the fact that he lost all those great players and had no playmakers. Other teams were winners with young teams!

He put all his eggs in one basket—Gino—who got all the glory and none of the blame. A team needs to be a team, not the stage for a perceived future NFL star. If Minter had treated all his players like future NFL players we would have had a winning season.

—Jerry Jerome, Cincinnati

A gigantic, huge mistake. Minter took one of America's five worst programs and took them to places I as a long-suffering Bearcat fan never expected. Bowls. A conference championship. Local players interested in staying home. A great graduation rate. And yes, a new league. UC wouldn't be in the new Big East if he didn't lift the level of UC football from the sorry and sad to competitve. They were in it with almost every team they stepped on the field with the last several seasons (does OSU ring a bell?).

The real blame is with the apathetic UC fan base. The same fans that don't regularly sell out their top ranked basketball program are the same ones that don't support their school on the football field. Minter lost tons of assistants because the athletic department doesn't pay them on the same level as peer institutions.

I'm not saying Minter was perfect, but he was loyal. A rare sight in this world of sell-out coaches.

—Eric Waddell, Cincinnati

Rick Minter wasn't the greatest coach, but he experienced enough success to warrant at least one season in the Big East. Go RedHawks!

—Doug Powell, Cincinnati

I'm VERY disappointed and agree with Paul Daugherty, UC just fired a great stand-up guy. I was looking forward to him being at the helm when UC stepped up!

—Jeffrey Fogel, Canton, Ohio

Just wondering if John Cooper's name has been brought up as a replacement. Think about it.

—Loren Metz, Mobile, Ala.

It is the worst decision I have ever seen UC make. They will never find another coach as good as Rick Minter. This is probably the beginning of the end of UC's football program.

—Lee White, Morristown, Tenn.

Ridiculous. Minter is probably kicking himself for staying at UC for so long when he could have been a candidate for better positions. Just when things are looking good in the Big East, they kick him like a stray dog. I hope UC struggles for several years in football.

—Tim McMullen, Port Charlotte, Fla.

I had the opportunity to play for Coach Minter in the fall of 1995. He is the most football-savvy coach I have ever been around. Coach admitted that he was being judged by his own standards. This is obviously he case. Four bowl games for a school that hadn't seen a bowl in 40 years. A shutout win over top 10 Virginia Tech, a win over Ron Dayne-led and Rose Bowl champion Wisconsin, and last year's Conference USA championship prove his abilities as acoach. Add in victories over Syracuse, West Virginia and Southern Miss and you can see that he was propelling Cincy to the Top 25.

Several NFL draft picks, including Artrell Hawkins, Jason Fabini, Sam Garnes, Antwaan Peek and Brad Jackson, have Minter to thank. This was an extremely poor decision by the AD and UC administration. Whoever takes over this job will have success biult on Minter's foundation.

—Bryan Lewis, Derby, Vt.

I've been making the drive from Memphis to Cincinnati to watch UC play football for several years now, and I do it because UC plays good, solid college football in a great old stadium.

I hate to see UC leave the brotherhood of the honest, hardworking, blue-collar C-USA where college football is played on the level it was meant to be played. Am I the only one out here who feels this way?

And I really hate to see them let a first class guy like Minter go. I may be wrong, but I think in a few years UC will regret some of its recent decisions.

—Clifton Merritt, Memphis, Tenn.

UC should have given Coach Minter one more year to regain his winning form. UC hasn't been a big time football program since Greg Cook and Jim O'Brien set records back in the 60s. AD Goins jumped the gun and fired a decent coach. In today's super-competitive environment, it is tough for a mid-major program like Cincinnati to become the next Michigan, Texas or Tennessee. There are just not enough super athletes to go around after the "big schools" finish recruiting.

Now maybe UC is planning on relaxing its academic requirements even further to recruit academically deficient junior college players of questionable character? UC didn't have a great season, but it wasn't a disaster either. Rick Minter should have been allowed to stay.

—Nick Farr, Norwood

I think that Coach Minter has done wonders for the program. When I was in high school UC was not even an option for me as a player until Rick Minter took over. As we all know, we live in a hotbed of football talent and it's hard to keep it here, but I think he did a reasonable job getting those players. I wish him the best of luck and he should stay involved to see what he helped make.

For a replacement I think that we should try and go after Romeo Purnell, who is the defensive coordnator for the New England Patriots. Also we should try Grambling State's Doug Williams. I think that our university should make a stab at a good minority coach who is qualified for the job.

—Rodrick Pierce, Cincinnati

Minter raised the program to so-so but couldn't keep assistants. He peaked. Louisville and Marshall win; why not UC?

—Frank Barton, Danville, Calif.

Rick Minter is a class act, period! He is the reason (along with Bob Huggins) that UC is able to join the Big East in 2005! The 2003 football team had the lowest number of returning starters (10) and seniors (12) of any team in Conference USA. The talent that was lost off of last year's team looks like a "Who's Who" in the UC record book. Next year (2004), Minter's team would have had 18 starters returning, over 50 lettermen and over 30 seniors! That to me is reason enough to give him the benefit of the doubt!

—Guy Tracy, Dayton, Ohio

Bob Goin is an idiot. Rick Minter is the best thing that ever happened to UC football. Any success that UC has in the future will be because of what Rick Minter did in his time here. UC's move to the Big East could have helped Minter's recruiting and helped UC become a top 25 program. I don't think UC will be able to find a better coach, or a better person, than Rick Minter.

—Brad Barnwell, Cincinnati

I have missed one football game since Minter was here. I have really enjoyed UC football. I find him to be a class act. My husband and I are UCATS. We bought football tickets before it was required, too, in order to get basketball tickets. He has done a lot for UC and I believe we should have stuck with him longer. He finally has been able to get some local talent to commit to UC.

There was one line the impressed me in the morning Enquirer, the statement he made that he lost quite of few players because of graduation. Graduation—that is the important word. Isn't that want college is all about? The majority of these kids are not going to play pro ball but they are getting their education.

—Dolores Rutemueller, St. Bernard

I think UC can get a much better coach than Minter. I wish him the best, but I think he should go. A 5-7 record against a ridiculously easy schedule is unacceptable. The schedule will be much tougher in the Big East.

—Nick Doran, Maineville

I think it is a stupid decision. Cincinnati football has looked pretty good to me over the last few years.

—Mark Isenberg, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

He deserved to be fired. Not one of his players liked him; he lied to his players, had no rapport with them, and many left the program because of him.

—Tony Laforgia, Rutherford, N.J.

I'm not sure they'll find a better coach to replace him.

—Ken Baker, Cincinnati

If Olinger could have held on to a pass UC would have beaten Ohio State last year. Dropped passes in key situations have absolutely killed Minter and the Bearcats over the years. Rick was a good and decent guy and I hope he stays on at UC in some capacity.

Yes, as others have pointed out the assistant coach merry-go-round has hurt the program (Rose, Bible, Willis - these were pretty good staff members). Goin must have had a pretty good idea of a short list of candidates before he decided to let Minter go (I'm betting). Is Paul Pasqualoni at Syracuse next to go? The guy here at Louisiana Tech isn't exactly on terra firma either.

Regarding attendance: If UC built on its 3-0 start, then you would have at least 25,000 every game. Provide a winner, and fans will support the team. There's no reason why UC shouldn't be in the six- to eight-win range every year, with a Miami (OH), TCU or NIU type year once every four or five years.

—John Pescatore, Ruston, La.

Good coach, but not great. They are going to need a great coach if they want to compete in the Big East.

—Micheal Green, Granville

Good. They need to hire John Cooper.

—Marc Burr, Cincinnati

I think Minter gave the program a great starting foundation. He brought us to four bowl games in the past six years, but this was just his time to go. I think the University of Cincinnati made a good decision. They should start talking with Nebraska's former head coach, Frank Solich as a possible replacement for Minter.

—Will Creaks, Gambier

Rick Minter did a fair, honest job with the resources he had available. If you are a true, long-suffering football fan ('74 grad), Minter was an improvement and during his tenure his teams played hard and were competitive.

My kids participated in his football camps and through these camps he laid the groundwork to enable him to recruit top talent from the area. He was a friend to local youth football with free coaches clinics and youth programs. Nippert Stadium was a fan-friendly stadium unless you stood too close to the Norwood boys.

Thanks, Rick Minter, for an honest effort and improvement in the program. Good luck! I don't know what the answer for the future is but the pressure is squarely on Bob Goin's shoulders.

—Dan Crowley, Norwood

What was Minter's graduation rate? Huggins' has to be abyssmal, but UC could care less.

—Robert Barth, Charleston, W. Va.

As a UC alumnus, I am disappointed in his dismissal. I thought he did a lot to bring up the status of UC football.

—Gregory Kelso, San Diego

Minter raised the quality of UC football to semi-respectability from incredible medeocrity. In five years, if Goins hasn't jumped ship like past football coaches and ADs, it should be his head to roll next.

Unfortunately he, like many UC has hired, will declare victory and flee before the house of cards he built comes falling down. UC needs consistancy and loyalty more than pie-in-the-sky dreams.

—Greg Fisher, Cincinnati

I think that Bob Goins should have been fired instead of Coach Minter. Mr. Goins has never given the support to football as he has to the basketball program. I am a UC alumnus and can remember when the athletic department wanted to completely drop the football program. Coach Minter has in my opinion done wonders with the UC football program, considering the lack of adminstrative support he receives.

—Jim Hulsmann, Cincinnati

I think it's a disgrace they let Coach Minter go. He has done an excellent job for them with the many obstacles he faces. As he mentioned, he recruits against Big Ten schools, and against the MAC. I attended Miami University and UC and can tell you Miami would win hands down with any recruit, just due to the superiority of the school itself. Coach Minter went well above and beyond what could reasonably be expected of him.

—David Gray, Cincinnati

Great decision. Minter is not the man. He always seems overwhelmed by the situation. He had more than a fair chance to reach a higher level. I hope UC gets a coach that can recruit locally with some of the talent that is available right there in the Tristate area. I would like to see UC get the coach at Miami (Ohio).

—Don Lewis, Houston

Minter got the shaft! I think a coach of his caliber is what UC can expect in the market and conference within which it plays. He has done a fantastic job with what he has been given to work with.

—Kevin Kennedy, Dillsboro, Ind.

UC's maddening inconsistency did Minter in. They play well, and sometimes beat, name programs, then play poorly, and often lose, against lesser competition. This was a consistent hallmark of Minter's later years, and a change had to be made.

I'm surprised he didn't get at least a year to recruit in the Big East, but really, what would a (probably) bad year next year do for UC? It would only elevate the call for Minter's firing. In the face of the seemingly inevitable, let's see if a higher profile coach can turn the tide.

—Frank Abell, New Orleans

One has to give Minter credit for what he has accomplished at UC. They have been to three straight bowl games. The streak ended this year, but the team was young. Minter may not call the best game (I find myself being able to call the next play from the stands on a consistant basis), but players do not play harder for anyone. That has to be admired.

I have never seen players play so hard for a coach, and not only that...never quit. Down 42-17 against Miami with nine minutes to go, they battled back to cut the lead to 42-37 and had a chance to win. Against Louisville they battle back from 28-7 to take a lead. It's not Minter's fault this Bearcat team had the unbelievable problem of dropping the ball in key situations (the punt at Miami, the pass in OT dropped by Hall against South Florida, which was intercepted, the pass dropped by Thadius Lewis at the end of the Louisville game that cost UC a chance at at least a game-tying field goal). Those things aren't Minters fault!

The fact that his teams never quit, that is a credit to him. His players love playing for him and they play hard to the end. That to me has to be the ultimate compliment to a coach.

However, now that the Minter era is over my next coach would be...John Cooper. He has recruiting ties to the Midwest; he has experiance at a major program in the Midwest. He is a great recruiter. UC can start getting the players in Ohio that OSU doesn't get. There are plenty of great players, they just are spread throughout the MAC. OSU has been the only major program in Ohio. Cincinnati can change that, and Cooper is the man to do it. Major conferance experience, and, hey, he doesn't have to play Michigan now.

Let's realize the great job Minter did, and wish the next coach great luck in bringing this program to the next level.

—Mark Raines, Loveland

Sad. Solich from Nebraska and now Minter. It goes to show it doesn't matter if you run a clean program and one that graduates quality young really boils down to wins and losses and, ultimately, money. Aren't these educational institutions? The firing schools and their fans should be ashamed.

—Dan Schaefer, Hamilton

I believe Rick Minter's biggest mistake has to do with the revolving door of his assistant coaches. For whatever reason, he does not seem to be able to keep them for very long. Just ask Marvin Lewis how important assistant coaches are.

—Mark Daughetee, Cincinnati

It fits with Bob Goin's apparent philosophy of success at any cost. Huggins wins but has troubled players and a low graduation rate and gets millions; Minter has a losing record this year but no player issues (with a lot more players) and a phenomenal graduation rate and gets canned. Way to go Mr. Goin - perhaps our football program can become as associated with violent thuggery and as disassociated with academics as our basketball program already is. Wo-hoo!

—Bruce Demske, Cincinnati

Bad move. Minter is a good coach that has to deal with lazy players. Goin felt intimidated at the fact we're going to the Big East and now they have to search for a needle in a haystack to find the right football coach to even remotely compete in Big East football. We're gonna get slaughtered unless they get lucky and hire someone of Marvin Lewis's caliber. It's going to be ugly for UC football the next couple years. My fingers are still crossed.

—Bobby Rebholz, Cincinnati

Rick was the class of the university's coaching corps. Externally, he was a gentleman, win or lose. It is troubling to see that work against him. What is the message it sends?

The program has been in better condition than at any time in the last 40 years. His players were not in the news, unlike the UC roundball world. UC did not celebrate those victories enough in support of Rick's efforts. He was an asset to the community. What lesson has the UC athletic department taught the community today?

—Roger Martin, Cincinnati

I believe Bob Goin pulled the plug on Rick Minter too soon. With three years remaining on his contract and the move to the Big East, why not allow Rick the opportunity to recruit with this new resource? If the University will have to pay Rick anyway, I think he deserves a chance at the Big East level. If you review Bob Huggins' record over the past 10 years (i.e.: win-loss ratio) I believe his percentages are similar if you weight the number of games proportionately (basketball vs football).

The basketball Bearcats have not performed well in postseason either! Does this mean Bob Huggins is next to be replaced as UC moves up a level? Then is Bob Goin good enough to lead the UC head coaches to Big East contenders? How has he fared with his budget over the same period? It has taken the Bengals 13 years to realize a team is comprised of quality players, coaches, scouts and a supporting cast of upper management that allows the coaches to coach and the players to play!

If you have a faster car chanches are you will have a better opportunity to win the race. Let Rick recruit at the Big East level and then measure his value. If he fails then UC would be justified in firing him.

—Jim Ryan, Crescent Springs

I think Rick Minter helped raise the level of UC football over the last 10 years significantly; perhaps looking at improving recruiting and keeping assistant coaches would be a better choice. I am disappointed in Goins.

—Ken Gallo, West Chester

With the better than average talent available Coach Minter did a consistently mediocre job for 10 years. Over this span his teams were always notable for poor preparation fundamentals in such basic disciplines as tackling and blocking. Shoulder tackles leading to excessive yardage and to face mask penalties at critical junctures, coupled with very predictable and unimaginable play calling, were the downfall in many of the games lost during his tenure here. The fact that he seemed to have great difficulty in maintaining assistants also led to further discontinuity in the program.

As UC steps up into a more competitive football environment a coach of vision, proven ability, and media charm (a la Coach Lewis of the Bengals) should be hired, otherwise UC should perhaps drop Division I status. Someone such as fomer Nebraska coach Solich would be ideal. It is my hope that the university will approach a leader of such status and credentials for this position.

—David Greenberg, Cincinnati

Minter helped build our program to where we don't get beat 81-0. Now we need to find some one to get us where we beat someone else 81-0. Hire Rex Ryan!

—Rick Hiatt, Cincinnati

Rick Minter has improved the graduation rate, re-established a local recruiting base, brought in better athletes, fielded competitive teams and has seen an increase in attendance. Entry into the Big East should help recruiting. His problem with assistants is something that could have been corrected. I think he should have kept his job with the stipulation he rely more on his coordinators. If the wins didn't increase after two more years, then release him.

Even though the team hasn't had big winning seasons, I could always take pride in the graduation rate and the players as quality people. Bob Goin has improved the state of UC athletics so much that I will have to trust his decision, but it is a hard decision to accept.

—Mark Holmes, Hillsboro

This move is about as stupid as the one Nebraska made. Minter does better than any coach at that school in 50 years and still gets canned? UC ain't Alabama, so quit acting like there's a national championship around the corner with some new coach!

—Chris Jones, Memphis, Tenn.

Fire the assistant coaches as well. They are just as bad as Minter.

—J. Rettig, Batavia

Big mistake!

—Alvin Shapiro, Delray Beach, Fla.

Rick is a good man, and did a good job in a difficult place. The graduation rate is great, and he has his priorities straight. I wish him well. I hope he stays at UC in adminstration. I'm glad they offered him that option.

—John Johansen, West Milton, Ohio

It is about time Coach Minter was fired. I think our basketball program is good enough to play in the Big East, but not our football program.

—Charles Parker, Mt. Orab

Minter's teams were always well coached. I always thought he was the "Bill Mallory" of Conference USA. Big name coaches don't always win. Should have kept him.

—Al Pittman, Anderson, Ind.

I think it is a great move. UC needs to move on because he has proved he can only provide mediocrity, although he has changed the football program to a higher level since he came here. But since they are moving to a bigger and better league, they need to get a coach who can sell the kids on coming here. I do believe they can, because Cincinnati has a lot to offer besides football.

—Darin Combs, Mason

I think Coach Minter peaked and now someone else needs to take the Bearcats to the next level.

—Tom Foltz, Arlington, Ohio

It really is too bad that Minter was fired. I felt he did an admirable job with what he had. I feel that he did an excellent job in recruiting local players. There seemed to finally be some excitement in UC football, although attendance did not reflect this. I also feel that the move to the Big East may help in drawing fans. I think Minter will be missed.

—Jack Haders, Marietta, Ga.

I think the firing of Coach Minter is unwarranted. I think with how well he built this program up, from literally nothing, that he had earned the right to have an off year. It's not his fault the receivers have stone hands and that Gino is just a stoner.

—Chris Crawford, Cincinnati

I think the decision to fired Coach Minter was a rash one. Minter has done an excellent job during his tenure at UC. I think everyone is failing to remember when Cincy football couldnít draw 1,000 people to a game...when a winning season was rarely anticipated. Yes, UC football needs to improve before going into the Big East, and this year was more than just a little disappointing, but I feel the blame falls on the players and not Minter for this years misfortune.

Minter has given 10 excellent years to the university and I feel itís more than foolhardy to force him out after one off year. I have nothing but respect for Bob Goin but in my opinion he was too hasty to make this decision.

—Michael Hernandez, Clifton

I think this day was a long time coming. When Minter was hired in 1994, he inherited a team that went 8-3 with no bowl game because they weren't affiliated with a conference and numerous bowl game opportunities like UC has presently.

Take a look at his inconsistent record year in and year out, along with the number of players who were drafted or are playing in the NFL, and you wonder what he's talking about when he say's its difficult to recruit to UC. Next he talks about losing all of his "playmakers" from last year's team. With all those playmakers on his team, he was able to complete a very average season in 2002, although he did win a share of the C-USA title only to lose to North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl (he also had a 1-3 record in bowl games).

Truth be told, Bob Goin is the best thing to happen to UC athletics since Bob Huggins and Oscar Robertson. Goin used his contacts to engineer the first bowl for UC to Boise, not Minter. Goin is a football man, as evidenced by his days at FSU. He has developed the facilities and the other programs at UC with a limited budget and built them considerably. Now he will have the chance to hand pick the football coach of his choice to direct this program. He can find someone with the same amount of class and vision that he possesses. I look forward to watching UC football be competitive year in and year out in the Big East Conference.

—Mack Harrison, Louisville

Difficult decision, but that's the nature of the business. There are no innocents. I'm guessing that Minter's had to do the same himself in the past.

If he'd consider a college job, Sam Wyche would sure make it interesting if not successful.

Other than that, consider the winningest coach available from the NAIA or Div. II.

—Steve Zinser, Peebles

Great decision! Rick was not ready for the Big East in any way and he never sparked interest in the program.

Urban Meyer is not a bad choice. Mike Price is a horrible choice - don't do it. Don't waste time with the Minnesota coordinator either.

Best choice: Make a solid offer to USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow. He has been dying for a head job and hasn't been given the chance. He's the best developer of QBs and the passing game maybe in collegiate history. Give him the reins to build a wide-open, fun team and fans will be interested. UC will never pull many recruits from OSU, but with Chow they might recruit some of the best offensive skill players in the nation. Think about it.

—Vince Sander, Richmond, Va.

Wins too far apart for UC
Daugherty: New coach will have to do it all
Decision disappointing, leaves coach asking why
Goin: 'The stakes are higher'

Rose's story: A prison without bars
Boone signs with Yankees

Bengals pull December surprise
Burris doubtful against Ravens
It's crunch time in the NFL
Banged-up Colts hobble toward Titans showdown

Louisville in, TCU out as Miami bowl foe
Croom's hiring makes history

Valpo figures to crowd UC
UK finally shakes Thundering Herd
Xmas tip: An autograph for your Big O fan
No. 3 UConn wallops Lehigh

Hamilton wins on Samples' late FT's
Prep sports results, schedules

Sports digest

Sports on TV, radio

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vs. South Florida (3-4)
• 1:00 p.m. Sat. Nov. 20
• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700


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