Wednesday, February 07, 2001

Kids get caught in coaches' crises


Guidugli should take time on decision

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        Gino Guidugli could throw caution to the wind and probably produce a perfect spiral. He has that kind of arm, that kind of touch and that kind of confidence. He is a successful quarterback, however, because he has learned when to air it out and when to wait.

        Highlands High School's prolific passer cast his football fate with the University of Kentucky last Friday, but his commitment may not be so firm when colleges start collecting letters of intent this morning. Wildcats coach Hal Mumme resigned under pressure and amid scandal Tuesday afternoon, and circumstances call for caution. Though Guidugli said he would still sign with UK barring some “drastic” development, “like if they fired the whole staff,” his father says the matter will require further review.

        Theirs was the busiest telephone in Fort Thomas Tuesday night. Theirs is an increasingly difficult decision.

        “I kind of saw this happening,” Guidugli said. “My dad talked to (UK athletic director) Larry Ivy before I committed. He promised me that if there was a new coach, he would keep the same offense and they'll still be throwing the ball. And that's all I cared about.”

        That was in mid-afternoon. By late in the evening, the Guidugli party line had evolved to allow for other possibilities. Coaches from Cincinnati, Mis
sissippi State and North Carolina were calling to urge additional deliberations. Gino Guidugli may take a pass on signing day rather than rush to judgment.

        “I just told him to put it on hold for a while,” Dave Guidugli said, recounting his advice to his son. “I told him to relax, that there's no reason to hurry. Who knows? He still might go to UK. We should know something within the next week or so.”

        The prudent high school athlete evaluates many factors in selecting a college. The identity of the head coach generally enters into the equation after the school's proximity/distance from home, its undergraduate gender ratio, the local drinking age and the relative ease of maintaining eligibility.

        Still, the coach is an important consideration. It's always useful to know who's likely to be screaming at you for the next four years.

        Gino Guidugli likes new UK coach Guy Morriss, but Morriss is operating on a one-year contract. He has yet to hire an offensive coordinator. He cannot be sure what kind of sanctions may be imposed as a result of the recruiting violations that compelled Mumme to quit. The Guiduglis deserve to be able to make an informed decision.

        “You'd think someone in that situation would sit for a few days to see where the dust is going to settle,” UC head coach Rick Minter said.

        One of the problems with the recruiting process is that high school kids are often stampeded into decisions based on incomplete information.

        Ten days ago, University of Miami football coach Butch Davis was wooing a high school quarterback named Buck Ortega with promises of permanence. One day later, Davis bolted Miami to coach the Cleveland Browns.

        The good news is that Davis left Miami before Ortega was allowed to make a misinformed choice. The bad news is that athletes often are stuck when their coaches skip town.

        “I think it would be very beneficial that if there was a coaching change, the players would be able to make a change themselves,” Highlands coach Dale Mueller said. “If something is different than what it was when you signed, you'd be able to go somewhere else.”

        As things now stand, there's a double standard. If Hal Mumme takes a new job today, he can do so without encountering any eligibility problems. Once Gino Guidugli signs a letter of intent, however, he's committed.

        E-mail: tsullivan@enquirer.com.
       

        Complete UK coverage from Louisville Courier-Journal



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