Fair and right aren’t always equal

Life as a college basketball coach, especially in Lexington, isn’t always easy. It certainly isn’t always fair.

So when Rod Strickland was pulled over early Sunday morning in his fourth drunk driving-related incident, the consequences shouldn’t be easy, and maybe they won’t be fair.

But if UK wants to get it right, it shouldn’t wait for his April 15 arraignment to decide on Strickland’s future. Be swift, be just. Set the proper example for the student-athletes, and don’t play politics like the powers that be in Indianapolis, messing with the basketball tournament.

Strickland should be thanked for his season of service to UK, and he should be let go.

When John Calipari brought Strickland to his staff from Memphis, the former NBA guard was seen as, among other things, a recruiting tool: He knows what it takes to play in the league, because he lasted there for 17 seasons. What high school player, especially a point guard, wouldn’t like that kind of tutelage?

Strickland’s hire could also have been seen as a calculated risk from Calipari. At Memphis, Strickland served as director of basketball operations — a suit on the bench that didn’t coach; rather, he assisted with off-court relations (which makes the title “director of basketball operations” seem like a misnomer).

His spot on the bench at UK was initially set to go to a man named Josh Pastner, until he accepted the head coaching spot Calipari left at Memphis that nobody expected to fall all the way to Pastner. So when it did, Calipari opted to give Strickland a chance to bump up from a non-coaching administrative job to assistant coach instead of finding somebody he hadn’t worked with.

Through just one season, it’s difficult to say if the risk paid off. Because of the timing of Strickland’s hire last May, it’s likely he didn’t impact any signings from Calipari’s first class.

But the administration shouldn’t wait any more to see if the risk will pay off eventually. Now, there’s no way it can.

Most times, assistant coaches work more personally with players than head coaches do. In turn, they have just as much or more influence over the athletes than Calipari does in a personal sense. If Cal decides to leave Strickland on staff, how can he explain to parents on the recruiting trail that a repeat DUI offender is on staff?

And how can Calipari justify to himself that it’s worth the trouble?

For all Strickland may or may not do behind the scenes and on the practice floor at UK, his job isn’t irreplaceable. If it was, he’d be a head coach somewhere by now.

And for Strickland personally, it may be best he is cut loose.

When Billy Gillispie was fired last year, he hit rock bottom. In August, he surfaced in nearby Lawrenceburg in the middle of the night, caught driving under the influence. Only then did he realize he had a problem with alcohol, and only then did he seek treatment.

Maybe for Strickland, he can realize alcohol is a problem in his life. Four times now he has been arrested for driving drunk. For the sake of himself and his family, he should seek treatment. Like Gillispie, maybe it would take something as dramatic as losing a job to find that help.

Calipari should stay by his side, and offer him assistance throughout the process. But it should be as a friend, not as a boss.

Maybe that’s not fair. But fair isn’t always right, and right isn’t always fair.

James Pennington is a journalism senior. E-mail jpennington@kykernel .com.

Well, I’m not 16 and I grew up without a father due to mine being killed by a drunk driver.

And if you want to defend someone who has seriously broken the law, (even someone who is painfully aware of that law by now after 3 prior DUI’s) do it because you care about that person and their future and not because of selfish reasons.

To say we shouldn’t fire him because he ‘brings in point guards’ is one of the most idiotic sentiments I’ve ever heard.

I’m sure that whatever decision the AD makes on this issue, he’ll extend support to Coach Strickland and UK will do all it can to help him overcome this. At the same time, the AD has to show that he’s concerned about the safety of those he works for and represents.

If someone you loved was going through that red light when Coach Strickland ran it, would you still be talking about how he brings in point guards?

Grow up!! People!!

KY was KY long before Coach Strickland got here.

I’m a Coach Strickland fan too, but lets keep this in the realm of sanity, for crying out loud.

Pennington appears in his photo to be about 16 years old, so we can forgive him his puritanical and holier-than-thou outlook on real life. Just mark it up to youth. I suppose he’s never made any mistakes in his young life . . . yet. In my youth I was probably just as idealistic and unforgiving. I’ve since learned that “there but for the grace of God go I” is a more realistic view of people who make stupid mistakes. I hope Strickland incurs a serious penalty for his actions, but fire the guy? Isn’t that a little harsh? With the exception of a pedophile or serial killer, everyone deserves a second chance. Punish him, probate him, but don’t give him the career death penalty.

Letting Rod Strickland go will be a huge mistake. He brings in Point Guards. The guy is a veteran who has trained Evans, Rose, Wall and Bledsoe. He knows how to bring point guards in, what to tell them, how to coach them, and what to expect from other point guards.

He is a huge Asset. We should be grateful for his presence every day. People make mistakes. Fine him, and move on.

I say this as a fan/admirer of coach Strickland and a Big Blue fanatic.

The only reason this is a debate is because no-one was injured.

My father was killed by a drunk driver while going to an all night Pharmacy to fill a prescription for my sick little brother.

For coach Strickland to do such a thing took forethought. Going into a situation were you’re about to start drinking and knowing full well that you have no-one to drive you home. He could have taken a cab. After all this is his 4th DUI charge.

I think coach Cal needs to stick by him, but as far as his employment is concerned, no matter what direction UK takes it’s going to be a let-down either way. I guess you have to decide what’s the responsible thing to do. Do you force him into rehab and suspend his license for 2 or 3 years? Or do you just fire him and give him moral support. As unfortunate as this is, it’s a situation that Rod Strickland put himself and the program in.

If he does lose his job then he should still consider himself lucky that he didn’t kill anyone when he ran that red light.

So, if they let him go, they let him go.

In the end, we need to understand that some things are bigger than basketball.

Even in KY.

Innocent until proved guilty!!!!!!!!!!!!! But if Strickland is found guilty he needs to be dismissed. Especially since this is either his 3-4 DUI. We have had 2 head coaches where we had to worry about being embarrassed by DUIs9 (Sutton and Gillespie) and to my recollection, neither worked out too well.
If found guilty, Strickland needs treatment not approval from UK.

Was Strickland an SAE member at UK? Seeing as there current President has numerous convictions including DUI he’d fit in nice over there

Wasn’t there a senior Professor at UK arrested for raping his daughter? Last I checked he’s still employed at UK.

I’d like whatever is best for Rod Strickland and Kentucky to happen, but the outcome we’ll forget about by the Summer so let’s be honest (haha even thought we don’t have any facts.) Yeah so the student and faculty DUI argument is tempting but surely for all those that stayed in school or kept their jobs, a couple of them probably got kicked out or fired… especially the ones with bad records like 3 prior DUI convictions!

Listen to yourselves is that really your argument? Laziest cop-out I’ve heard in awhile. Name one of these faculty or students that is relevant to UK’s image or put the school in a bad light and made the news, local or national, for their DUI… probably can’t unless it was one that got in a tragic accident, but then you’d only be proving a point about drunk driving which isn’t really my argument, of course it’s an important one though.

Students already pay increased tuition every year, faculty already work for less than what they probably deserve… UK needs these people’s $$$… then there’s Rod Strickland, vaguely familiar to millions of people, played 17 years in the NBA and made salaries (and probably partied) beyond my wildest dreams. Last year he gets an opportunity to be an assistant coach at the most prestigious college basketball program in the land, pulling in a 6 figure salary. Man sounds blessed.

Financially, you can see why some people decide not to get a cab ride home… but this guy probably has no excuse other than “it would have been inconvenient” and “…didn’t think I was that drunk.” There are very few good excuses for that kind of decision making, no matter what your BAC level winds up showing you’ve drank

We’ll see how far his wallet, lawyers and remorse get him. jail time would suck. just not sure if he belongs on our bench anymore, I’m alright with people who don’t get caught though

I’d wait and let it play out in court. Lets not forget many UK employees are arrested each year and are not fired.

Hundreds of UK employees and students have received DUI’s in the past. Should we fire them and kick the students out too????

Nice thought progression there GregO. How dare this Kernel writer report news about Coach Strickland like that, this is ‘Merica! Dude is only speculating on what a rationale person might conclude will happen with coach’s job; how he will be perceived by folks now and in the future. Same as every other news outlet in the vacuum of Lexington.

I don’t care how many years it’s been since his last DUI, what rehab type of programs he’s completed… it’s his 4th conviction. He was pulled over for running a red light at Tates Creek and New Circle (safe place to do that for sure) then refused to cooperate with sobriety tests at 3 A.M. In all likelihood, he was probably just leaving Grater’s or Baskin Robbins though mmm ice cream binge

Innocent until proven guilty? Not in this town, especially with a record like that. And as far as rights go, I kind of like the idea of not sharing the road with drunkards. Getting off of my horse now, hopefully you already fell off of yours

Innocent until proven guilty! This is the United States of America the last time I checked. You need to stay in school longer and learn a bit more. Luckily you are not getting paid to write for a living.