Twelve days before Christmas, the State University of College fired legendary coach “Herc” Broadsides after three decades of faithful service. Broadsides compiled a record of 230-115-7 and won eleven bowl games during that span, but the program had recently fallen on hard times.
“We needed to go in a different direction. ‘Herc’ was leading us in a direction, and it wasn’t the right one, so obviously the time had come to change directions. Changing directions is never easy, but there are many times when, if you’re not changing directions, you’re staying in the same direction you were already in,” explained SUC athletic director “Toe” Beans, who had harbored an irrational grudge against “Herc” ever since the coach benched him during his sophomore season.
The university’s decision pleased the eminent Professor Ruggleteapot. In the past decade, Ruggleteapot had made many critical comments about Broadsides’ recruiting practices. “I never cared for that blockhead. I don’t think that football”—he carefully pronounced the word to sound as if it were two words, “foot ball,” in order to underscore his disdain for it—“is an endeavor at which the State University of College should strive to distinguish itself. I believe that we should focus on research and pedagogy. This is why our students pay top dollar to come here, after all.”
In an informal poll of students at SUC—which had the lowest tuition among flagship universities in the country—“big-time athletics” was ranked as the number one reason why they had chosen to attend the school. Ruggleteapot’s Introduction to Knowledge course, which was held on a Thursday evening and sometimes conflicted with football games, was sparsely attended on those dates. Despite his oft-repeated belief that pedagogy was one of the principal aims of the university, he received uniformly low ratings on grademyprof.com.
“Herc” Broadsides was philosophical about the situation. “Football comes down to winning and losing. If you have a lot of wins, you’re a winner. If you have a lot of losses, you’re a loser. In the last five years, I had more losses than wins. Back in the old days, things were different. They’re not the same now, and it’s possible that the times have passed me by. I’m grateful to State University for the great years I’ve had here, and I wouldn’t trade them in even if there were some way to do that. I might have been a Cleveland Spartan for ten years, but I’ll be an SUC man for life.”
Pro wrestling star Eddy Jacks, Jr. had played a key role on one of Broadsides’ last great teams and was disappointed to hear that his old coach would be stepping down. “He taught me the difference between winning and losing. With ‘Herc’ calling the shots, you were never out of a game. He believed that the best way to win was to score the most points. If you racked up a lot of points but still came away fewer points than your opponent, you were going to be a loser, not a winner. As a member of the offense, your goal was to get the ball into the other team’s end zone. If you were on defense, you wanted to keep the other team’s offense out of your end zone. It was pretty simple–the fundamentals, really–but it worked.”
“Toe” Beans believed that the opening would attract many quality candidates. “State University is a good school located in a talent-rich area, making it just the right job for the right college guy. It’s going to be hard to fill the shoes of a Hall of Fame coach like ‘Herc,’ but there’s no doubt that someone will. By that I mean that we’re certainly going to hire a replacement, because otherwise we wouldn’t. Wouldn’t have a coach, that is.”
The Handsome Senator, perhaps the most famous of State University’s thousands of alumni, issued a poignant statement through his press secretary. “It’s a shame that something this tragic happened so close to Christmas. But do you know what they say? They say that life goes on, and I think for some of us it really does.”