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No Shock Here: Pelphrey Didn’t Agree With His Firing… And Neither Did We

When John Pelphrey met with the media Monday, he made it clear how he felt about his dismissal.

“I do not agree with the decision yesterday to make a change.  I do not.  I absolutely do not.”  Pelphrey requested the opportunity to take part in the press conference so he could look “Arkansas in the eye.” 

“Obviously, I would’ve liked more time,” Pelphrey said.  “It takes time to build stability in a program.  Every situation is different.  This situation was different.  I know we were really close to reaping some of the rewards of all of our hard work.”

“I know where the program started and it was a program that needed a lot of work.  I know where we are today — making progress.  I absolutely, without question, know where it is going to be tomorrow and that is having repeat success of the past.”

“We are better today from a discipline standpoint because we all believed in the Razorback way — hard work all together, all the time.  If you had a problem with that, then we would never make an apology for disciplining a student-athlete because I still to this day believe the greatest form of love is to discipline someone.”

That’s an interesting view of love.  One that brings to mind dog collars and a garage door opener — no wait — that’s “9 to 5.”  But Pelphrey’s decision to suspend multiple players throughout his tenure certainly frustrated fans and created the impression that things inside his program were worse than they might have actually been.

The coach also discussed UA’s academic numbers which are on the climb.

“GPAs are up.  We had a 955 APR score a year ago and people said we could not hit that mark.  We have four young men that are all set to graduate here in the spring and a possibility of another young man graduating in December.  I don’t know another time when that has happened.  That’s pretty special and I look forward to being there in the spring to see those guys walk ‘cross the stage.  Two of the young men are getting ready to go in the Masters’ program.”

Pelphrey also addressed the attendance issues that plagued Bud Walton Arena this season.

“Everybody here me.  It is time for the fans, who say you love that logo with every fiber that is in you — I know how you care about that logo — it is time for you to show up and support this program, and get behind these players because there is a basketball season coming.  It is time for everybody to spread the good word, to buy your tickets and to show up.”

Pelphrey even referred to UA as his dream job.

“Four years ago when I came here I said that this was a dream job.  I meant that then and I still do.  My love and affection for this state, the people, this university and that logo, it has stolen my heart.  I will always be a part of Razorback Nation.”

But that wasn’t it for Pelphrey’s graceful exit.  He said he’s also tried to convince his top 10 recruiting class to stick with Arkansas.

“I spent basically my who existence here recruiting those guys.  I have spoken to them.  I’ve told them for whatever time it was that the University of Arkansas is the best place for them.  I still believe that.”


As we’ve said for a while now, Pelphrey deserved one more season in Fayetteville.  His program might not have been growing fast enough for the fans who decided to stay home and not buy their tickets — for the boosters who decided to stay home and not fill their luxury suites — but the program was not moving backwards.

For that reason, there was little risk in giving Pelphrey one more season to show what he could do with the recruiting class he’s put together.

Instead, Pelphrey’s out and he’s wisely chosen to exit with class.  Now a new coach will take over the UA program and he’ll find a roster in better shape moving forward than the senior-heavy squad Pelphrey inherited — and won with — in his first season.  That new coach won’t have to deal with APR restrictions that Pelphrey was faced with, either.

Arkansas might find a great new coach who can win right away in the downtrodden SEC West.  But their old coach deserved one more year on the job.

 




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