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The SEC Loses A Legend In Ex-Everything Dean

joe_dean_1Sunday morning the Southeastern Conference lost a legend.  A tremendous basketball player, a promoter via television, and an influential athletic director, Joe Dean was an SEC fixture for more than half a century.

Fans of a certain age will remember Dean as an All-SEC hoopster at LSU from 1949 through 1952.  Younger fans across the SEC footprint will remember him as the color analyst for televised SEC basketball games from 1969 through 1987.  The words “String music” and “stufferino” — Dean’s signature calls — still resonate with those of us in the late-30s, over-40 crowd.

In ’87, Dean became the athletic director at his alma mater and served in that position through 2001.  Dean was AD in Baton Rouge when the Tigers hired some fella from Michigan State named Nick Saban to rebuild their football program.

Dean was instrumental in the SEC expansion that welcomed Arkansas and South Carolina into the conference in 1992.  A visionary, he also worked in the 1980s to bring Texas A&M into the league.

Dean’s impact on the SEC would require a book, not a blurb, so instead we’ll just direct you to the headlines of the different obituaries honoring the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee today:

 

Ex LSU AD, basketball player Joe Dean dies at 83

Former LSU Athletic Director Joe Dean dies, 83

Hall-of-fame announcer Joe Dean Sr. dies at 83

 

When you’re accomplished in so many fields it becomes difficult to pick just one for a headline.  Dean was all of those things — player, AD, broadcaster — and he was more.  He was an ambassador for LSU and the Southeastern Conference for decades.  And he will be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dean’s family and friends.

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Ex-A&M, Bama Coach Stallings Explains Aggies’ SEC Move

When the SEC and Texas A&M first started talking about a marriage during the realignment crisis of Summer 2010, ex-Aggie and Alabama coach Gene Stallings was one of the men pushing for a union.  Stallings was serving on A&M’s board of regents at the time.  (As we’ve pointed out numerous times on this site, A&M and the SEC had actually been flirting off and on with one another since the days of John David Crow, Joe Dean and Harvey Schiller back in the 1980s.)

Yesterday Stallings opened up again about the Aggies move, why they made it, and why he believes fans will need to be a little patient:

 

“First I didn’t want to go to the Pac-10.  I would have rather kept the (Big 12) conference intact (in 2010). Since it wasn’t going to be intact, I would rather go the SEC than anywhere else.

I think the Longhorn Network made it an uneven playing field (in the Big 12).  I could care less what Texas does.  If that is to their advantage, that is fine.  I thought it was to the advantage of Texas A&M to go the SEC…

You talk about going into the SEC… It’s a tough conference to play in.  There are just no easy games.  I don’t want expectations to be high.  (The Aggies under first-year coach Kevin Sumlin) are going to do as well as they can.  Let’s give it a little time.”

 

Cue the Texas and Texas A&M fans to bash one another over who started what and who’s in better shape moving forward.  That argument will rage on for years.  And if the Aggies struggle in Year One of their SEC era, you can bet they’ll have to listen to a lot of people say, “I told you so.”

But give it time — as Stallings suggests — and A&M should be A-OK in the SEC.  If Arkansas and South Carolina can become Top 10 programs in college football’s toughest conference, a school with the recruiting base of A&M should be just fine, too.  Long-term.

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Stansbury Lets Sidney Talk On TV; Local Press Ticked

Rick Stansbury should know better.  In his 13th season as an SEC head coach, Mississippi State’s top Dog should know that playing favorites with the media will only tick off those in the media who aren’t treated as favorites.

Following State’s win over Ole Miss on Saturday, Stansbury allowed Renardo Sidney to speak on television with Joe Dean, Jr. 

So? 

Stansbury has not allowed the local press in the state of Mississippi to speak with the controversial big man.  And his decision made for “a tense scene for a few moments as several reporters — including David Brandt of The Associate Press and Rick Cleveland of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger — demanded to know why Sidney… was made available for the TV interview.”

After the game, an MSU spokesperson told the press room: “You’re not going to get Sidney.  He’s not going to come in here.  You’re all going to try to get it back to Hawaii.  We have to protect him.”

It seems the folks in Starkville have done nothing but protect Sidney.  Some have suggested the player’s lack of accountability has led to many of his much-discussed attitude issues.


Examples:

Sidney insulted MSU fans and re-tweeted comments critical of his coach on Twitter… yet he was “protected” while Raven Johnson was suspended.

Sidney was caught by television cameras fighting with teammate Elgin Bailey in Hawaii… yet he was “protected” while Bailey felt the need to transfer.


Perhaps MSU should — at some point — let the player speak for himself.  Who knows, being accountable for his actions now might someday actually help him as an adult, though it’s doubtful anyone surrounding Sidney cares as much about Sidney the adult as they do Sidney the basketball player.

Either way, Stansbury stepped in it by granting the SEC Network (meaning: ESPN) access to Sidney.  Sure ESPN pays a huge chunk of money to the league and the network probably promised not to bring up Sidney’s past off-court issues.  But Stansbury is not a popular man in the state of Mississippi these days.  The last thing he needs to do is make enemies with the people who cover his team on a daily basis.  Because those local writers and reporters have a helluva lot more influence on public opinion than Joe Dean, Jr. does.

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