It's never the wrong time of year to gripe about our beloved Army Football program. My dad passed along this bit of news that, well, doesn't surprise me one bit.
Superintendent Announces New Study Group
By Irene Brown
Chief, Command Information
U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin (Buster) L. Hagenbeck recently announced that retired Gen. Tom Schwartz, a member of the USMA Class of 1967, will head a study group to conduct a comprehensive review of the Army football program and its relationship to the total West Point experience.
"The group will conduct an unbiased and strategic analysis of the factors affecting the competitive success of the program," Hagenbeck explained. "Their recommendations will be vetted against the mission, vision and goals of the academy." According to Col. Kelly Kruger, West Point's Director of Policy, Planning, and Assessment, the panel is being convened because football is such an integral part of academy life.
"Football is important to the academy and to the Army. It provides developmental opportunities for the Corps of Cadets and the revenues generated support the entire athletic program," he said. "More importantly, winning in sports teaches the cadets the lifelong value of being a winner, how it takes a total team effort to achieve positive results and presents the Army and West Point in a very positive manner to the public." The panel, consisting of many former Army athletes, as well as notables in collegiate and professional sports, will objectively evaluate all the components that influence the success of the football program and provide recommendations for potential changes, Kruger explained.
Serving on the panel will be retired General Tom Schwartz, retired General David Bramlett, retired Rear Adm. Tom Lynch (USN, Retired), Brig. Gen. Pete Dawkins, Harry Walters, David Harkins, Rob Healy, C. "Rollie" Stichweh and Coaches Jim Young, Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Sutton. The group initially met shortly after graduation and will reconvene before the new academic year begins.
"General Schwartz has brought together an impressive team," Kruger continued. "Most played Army football or lettered in other Army sports and all are dedicated to improving the entire academy, not just the football program.
"Their objective is to review the football program as part of the total academy experience," Kruger added. "Additionally, this study is not simply about football, but part of the superintendent's total transition strategy. The concepts that emerge will benefit the entire institution and the development of every cadet."
This is not the first time a panel has been selected to review the Army football program. Former superintendent retired Lt. Gen. William Lennox, convened one five years ago. That panel contained several highly respected members of the football coaching fraternity, including former Nebraska head coach and U.S. Congressman Tom Osborne and Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, who served as an assistant coach at the academy under Tom Cahill from 1967 to 1969. The decision to withdraw the Army football program from Conference USA was based on the recommendations of the 2003 panel.
My response to my father was as follows:
You've got to be scratching your head about this... All this to come to the conclusion we all know is evident. Like I was telling you on the golf course last weekend, a four month Six Sigma project to tell us what we already know. If Bob Sutton and Jim Young don't stand up and say something to this effect, than the whole thing is a total waste of time;
"Gentlemen, let's save the taxpayers a great deal of money here and jump to the action plan part of this thing. West Point needs an offensive scheme that's primarily focused on running the ball and keeping the defense off the field for as long as they can like the other service academies are using to great success, much like the offensive schemes that USMA itself has used to great success when Bob and I were coaching here in the late 80's and early 90's.
All the facility upgrades are great. Money well spent. It gives recruits coming to West Point a reason to be psyched up to play Army football and offers strength and conditioning opportunity on par with other Div. IA programs, but it means nothing if all your going to do is send these kids out there to run some West Coast offense that they are simply too small and too slow to execute to any level of real success. We've had enough of trying to prove this reality wrong over the past 7-8 years and we've had arguably one of the best pass offense coaches in college ball here to try to prove likewise to no avail.
Dropping back to Div. IAA is not an option, its defeat. Bring back "The Bone", work the prep school system to groom better talent, and get them running the same scheme down there. That's what needs to be done.
Now, let's eat..."
Pass this along to those in the know up there and see if it can't end up in Sutton's/Young's hands. They can thank me by buying me a Schades hotdog when we go up this fall.
Your Loving Son and Devoted Army Football Fan,