Saving Dan’s bacon

Spoiler alert: The following is what we Media Mavens like to call satire.

Or is it?

True confession: When I was on my high school paper I always had to cover the football games because I was the only guy on the staff.

At the time I neither liked football nor understood it,

Later, while attending UF, I had a summer internship at the Ft. Lauderdale News. And one day I was assigned to cover a Little League World Series game.

I came back to the office and filed my story.

The next day it appeared in the paper and, after my byline, I didn’t recognize a single sentence as my own.

Apparently I do not possess the requisite sports writing flair.

I only bring this all up to explain why, during my 45 years and counting of writing for the Gainesville Sun, I always deferred Gator sports coverage to the likes of Dooley and Robbie.

All that said, and against my better judgement, I’m going to offer some sage career-saving advice to Coach Dan in this the winter of his Gator discontent.

Listen, pal, your record this season is nothing to write home about. And people are beginning to question whether you have the right stuff to take the Gators back to National Championship Glory.

So here’s how to regroup, Dan, and make yourself bulletproof…at least for the next season or so.

I know you’ve been taking a lot of heat since Florida’s humiliating drubbing at the hands of Georgia. To the point that you’ve been accused of ducking the media.

But the answer to your dilemma is perfectly clear.

See, these sports guys only want to hammer you about your mediocre season, your apparent inability to recruit top talent and, ultimately, whether you are in over your head down here in the Gator Nation swamp.

Listen, pal, you need to take control of the narrative and stop deferring to these negative nabobs of sports writing negativism.

So here’s what you do, Dan. And, no, don’t thank me. I’m a professional.

The next time you stand in front of the media, and before the first question is tossed, simply say:

“Listen, fellas, I understand that you all have a job to do here. But the truth is, there are simply bigger and more important issues at hand than whether we are going to beat South Carolina, Missouri, Florida State or, heck, even Samford and manage to elbow our way into a third tier bowl game.

“What could be more important, you ask? The fact that Tigert Hall is suppressing the academic freedom of UF faculty in service to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Don’t you guys read your own papers?

“Seriously, what could be more important than that? UF, the institution that I serve and love, is becoming the laughing stock of American higher education. And it’s got to stop.

“So I’m here today to tell you that I support the American Association of University Professors. I support the United Faculty of Florida. I support the UF Faculty Senate in its investigations.

“Come on, guys, what happens on Saturday is only a game. But my boss, President Fuchs is screwing around with the very heart and soul of our great University of Florida. And that cannot stand.

“So I am today drawing a line in the sand and saying, without fear or remorse: President Fuchs, if you want to purge the political science faculty, sanitize the law school and silence your own health professionals, you’re going to have to do it over my dead body. I’ll be right there on that picket line if you need me.

And you can tell Mori Hosseini he can keep his dough. We don’t sell out here at Mississippi St….um…UF.”

Dan, Dan, Dan, listen to me.

Take my advice and two things will happen.

First, you will instantly be transformed from the coach who can’t win the Big One to a media darling who is taking on the Powers That Be at great personal risk to your own career.

And, second, as soon as you do that, the Powers That Be will be constrained from firing you…even if, God forbid, you actually do lose to Samford.

It’s a win-win situation, Dan. The Chronicle of Higher Education will be singing your praises. And you will be pulling more ink from the New York Times and the Washington Post than Nick Saban, Kirby Smart…heck, even that wise ass at Ole’ Miss.

Plus, you will be on the side of the academic angels. Which is more than I can say about that bunch of Little League losers I tried to cover on my one day of sports writing experience at the Ft. Lauderdale News.

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