The University of Houston’s search for a new head coach has, sadly enough, brought back to life an embarrassing tic of the local sports media: Jack Pardee worship.
UH, for some reason, has reportedly picked the geriatric Pardee as one of two finalists for the job. Which means we’re getting hit once again with tales of what a noble, decent, upstanding Man he is.
Let’s go back to 1989. SMU is just getting off “the death penalty” given by the NCAA because the school was paying players. In other words, SMU, in 1989, was fielding a team that might have struggled against a 5-A high-school squad.
Their opponents throughout the season understood this, and quickly took the foot off the gas pedal after gaining a comfortable lead in the first half. Texas only beat SMU 45-13, even though the Longhorns had a rough season that year and no doubt the coaches would have liked to run things up a bit to take off the pressure. Notre Dame, which ended up 12-1 and Number Two in the country that year, didn’t break 60 points against the Mustangs. By the fourth quarter the Irish were all but pulling students from the stands and putting them in the game.
Jack Pardee’s Cougars? They beat SMU 95-21.
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Ninety-five fucking points. Against a team that posed absolutely no threat. Andre Ware, on his way to a Heisman Trophy, a brief NFL career, and inexplicably getting gigs as a cliché-ridden TV and radio analyst, threw for 517 yards in the first half.
Pardee defenders blame all this on offensive coordinator John Jenkins, a slimy hustler who eventually became UH coach and reveled in running up scores with the run-and-shoot offense. The Cougars’ offensive system, Jenkins would insist, could not be turned off; he couldn’t stop the scoring if he tried.
Anyone who anoints Pardee as a man of impeccable integrity needs to remember UH-SMU. It doesn’t make him a bad person, but it does make him not quite the saint he’s made out to be. – Richard Connelly