Mick Cronin Bolts to UCLA

If you don’t know, now you know…

Mick Cronin has departed Clifton (and his alma mater) for Westwood, CA, accepting the head coaching position at UCLA. The deal is reportedly for $24MM over the next six years, approximately $4MM a year for my mathematically-deficient readers. His current contract, which Cronin sought to renegotiate, was for $2.2MM a year and would’ve increased if UC’s and Cronin’s camp could’ve come to terms. They did not and the rest is recent history.

When you consider California’s taxing framework, Cronin’s after-tax, net take-home base compensation will only increase by $103K at UCLA. And that’s based on his current contract (not the renegotiated extension that never came to pass). Why weren’t the parties able to arrive at a number that worked for both the University and Coach Cronin? Well, I expect each camp has very fixed and divergent answers to that question.

Obviously, it’s still fresh, so here are my early thoughts on Cronin’s departure:

  1. Kudos to Coach Cronin for taking the program to 9 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He was a stable guardian of the program for 13 years. He invested in the personal lives and futures of his players. He ran a clean program, which has steered clear of FBI investigations. So, I’m grateful for his many contributions and wish him only success at UCLA.
  2. Many are sounding the alarm that all is lost without Cronin; some quite the opposite. The Mick Mafia is declaring universal defeat and casting aspersions on the University. The Anti-Mick-Ers are declaring victory over March tournaments to come. Neither can be correct; such speculation is premature. Mike Bohn, now, must make one of the most important decisions he’s faced as an athletic director and only time will tell whether we upgraded.
  3. Fundamentally, I believe Mick Cronin’s disgruntled view of UC’s administration, particularly the department of athletics, leaked out in many public comment opportunities. And I think that takes a toll on a fanbase, and program (including recruiting), over time. If you’re not personally optimistic about your school, it’s illogical to expect players, recruits, and donors to be convinced. In other words, if you’re not in love with the University and program you’re building, others won’t fall in love with it, either. Hopefully Coach Cronin has found an employer in UCLA he believes in, and hopefully his successor at UC can sell a new vision forward.
  4. Likewise, Cronin’s tendency to foment outrage over the NCAA’s supposed collusion against UC in March, or provide safe harbor to theories that conference is overly determinative in recruiting, was unhelpful. I think those tendencies can be self-defeating for a program and players. Not to get all woo woo, but some leaders are thermometers, simply reflecting the temperature around them; some are thermostats and determine the climate.
  5. Finally, the sunshine and warmth have finally arrived in the Queen City! Go outside. Inhale the air. Get off Twitter and my website. Watch the UC baseball team take on Xavier this evening in Clifton.

Much love to all of you in BearcatNation. The University and Mike Bohn will find the right candidate. To everything there is a season…

By Brian Fox

For more real-time coverage of the Bearcats, food takes, and dad jokes, follow along on Twitter – @BearcatsRadio.

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