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CINCINNATI - Remember the old TV melodrama where an honest cop cuts a deal with a prison administrator, pretending he's gone bad to get inside the state pen to ferret out a genuine bad guy? Only to have the complicit warden die of a heart attack, marooning the good guy inside!
I'm certain Mick Cronin and Butch Jones didn't look at Greg Williams as a warden but he was certainly a patron saint, a saint who's no longer wielding a halo on their behalf. Where they were and what they felt when they heard that Williams had resigned as University President will likely never be known to the public. But you can safely assume it wasn't the high point of their day.
Williams wasn't a back slapper, glad hander or small talker. He was just there when his university's major sports franchises needed him. And not just basketball and football. He was a fan. And a realist about what it took to compete in Division One. Some hypothesize that his chairing of the Big East committee that recently named former CBS Television executive Mike Aresco its new Commissioner may have run counter to the wishes of UC's Board of Trustees. Kind of a stretch but you never know.
Or maybe we should take President Williams at his word when he said he was stepping down after just three years for personal reasons. I'm told his wife has a minor health issue but that isn't for public consumption so it won't be here. Perhaps he just wants to step back, write another book and read some others. Sounds good to me. The reading part; not the writing one.
Come what may it has to leave Mick and Butch and the other Bearcat coaches a little bewildered and anxious about their futures. After all, Williams signed off on raises for Cronin and Jones' assistants and extensions for them. And he religiously attended all of their big games and events. And enjoyed himself. As much as a non-back-slapping, non-small talking, non-glad hander can.
More substance than style is appealing in many lines of work, including major college administration. Here's hoping his bosses can conjure up a replacement that has the right blend of both and the good sense to not try to re-invent the university's athletic wheel.
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