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Lelo Gets An Extension, And Doug Woolard Has Basically Given Up

Well when I have a baseball coach who's finished under .500 the last two seasons with all his own players and coaches in a high school baseball hotbed and couldn't even make his own conference tournament last season, I know the first thing I want to do is run out and sign him to a three-year extension.

Wait, that's not what I want to do at all. But that's what Doug Woolard did. Lelo Prado is with us through 2014. At least 2014.

There is some disagreement about this move. Toro can't believe Lelo got three more years. I can't believe he got one more year, after last season. You have a new baseball stadium that you spent a lot of money on, and a bunch of fancy $500 season ticket seats to move. Eventually the buzz will wear off and attendance will again be driven by how good you are. Why in the hell would you bring Lelo back for more based on past results, or lack thereof? And for three years, which implies that we have faith in him when the program is in no better shape than it was when he started in 2007.

Last year's team was painful to watch. They had pitching, but just an anemic offense (slash line of .262/.345/.338, no power, not much speed, required a ton of effort to score runs). It's boring baseball, which would be fine if you were winning, but it's not winning baseball either. And there's a limit to the excuse about how bad the old facilities were, because why would the team be getting worse even after the new stadium is under construction and recruits know they'll get a chance to play in it before long?

It doesn't make any sense to me. But I did come up with one good reason why Lelo would get an extension for doing such a thoroughly mediocre job: Because Doug Woolard hired him, and Doug Woolard can't admit his mistakes.

It's not like you had to buy him out of an expensive contract. It's not like you wouldn't have people interested in an opening. It's not like you aren't surrounded by a gold mine of baseball talent, playing in a weak conference, and in a brand-new stadium. We don't think we have unrealistic expectations on this site. But what sport on campus is set up to succeed better than baseball? USF should be a Big East title contender in baseball every year. Not finishing below .500 in consecutive years and missing the conference tournament completely and bombing out by Thursday in the years it does qualify. This isn't men's basketball, with all its inherent problems. Coaching baseball at USF is not even close to being the toughest job in America. How many positives are being squandered here?

Ah, but maybe Woolard thinks replacing Lelo would be held against him and make him look weak. No, it would make you look like you care about this actually becoming the best athletic department in the Big East like you keep saying, instead of being one that settles for below average. You could decide to make a move and tell everyone, "We want to be better than this," and no one would bat an eye. In fact, you'd get credit from people for striving to be better. But just like so many of USF's other problems, it looks like it's being punted down the road so hopefully it will go away, or someone else will deal with it.