Some MU fans said Thursday that they agreed for the most part with Athletic Director Mike Alden’s handling of former basketball coach Quin Snyder’s departure and are anxious for the program to move on.
But supporters in bars and barbershops and on online message boards said the process should have been better communicated internally and to the public.
“There was innuendo and rumor all over the place that had sort of become common knowledge,” said Allan Herigon, who was grabbing a bite to eat at Spanky’s Sports Zone. “Sometimes you just need to come straight out and tell people what the situation is.”
Herigon said he feels the athletic department struggles with communicating its goals and criteria when it comes to explaining financial and personnel decisions. He also said that it can be easy to forget that Alden “has done a good job at improving facilities and the minor sports.”
MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said in a release today he plans to work with Alden “to improve the athletic department’s internal and external communications process.”
Clayton Hayes said he felt the whole situation could have been prevented if Alden had not delegated the task to someone else because it enhanced the likelihood of miscommunication.
“Mike Alden does a good job, but he just made a bad decision,” Hayes said. “So many things can go wrong when you send a subordinate to talk about something as important as the future of a coach.”
In general, most fans said it made little difference if Gary Link, a special assistant to Alden and an MU radio broadcaster, delivered the news. Some even said it was possible Snyder may have misunderstood Link’s message.
“I think it was just a buddy-buddy conversation that got misinterpreted,” Larry Knipp said as he paid for lunch at G&D Pizza-Steak. “I believe Gary went to him as a friend and former player.”
Robert Newhart, an MU graduate from New York state in town on business, said Alden did what any reasonable employer would do: he held an underachieving employee accountable.
“I think he was doing what was in the best interest of everyone involved,” Newhart said. “If I’ve got a business, I’m going to tell people — one way or another — if they’re not getting the job done.”
Online, Deaton’s statement stirred a swift response on Internet message boards. As of 6:30 p.m. Thursday, about two hours after the statement was released, there were already 207 posts about it at tigerboards.com, a Web site devoted to Missouri athletics.
None of the postings expressed satisfaction with Deaton’s conclusions, and many wondered what happened before Snyder resigned.
“We will never know thanks to Deaton,” wrote Iam4Mizzou, a member of tigerboards.com. “I’m drafting a Sunshine Law request tonight.”
Deaton’s lack of specifics offended a few fans, who felt they had been duped by the university.
“They must think we are the biggest group of fools ever. They’ve crapped on me for the last time,” wrote MUMAN01, a patron of the message board scout.com. “I’m done until a house-cleaning is done down there.”
Several members said the handling of Snyder’s departure has tarnished the image of the university and its athletic department.
“If Deaton is really concerned about the negative image of the University, then he should do something about it,” someone with the handle TigerPride wrote on tigerboards.com. “Sticking his head in the sand doesn’t solve anything.”
Missourian reporters Chris Paul and James Gibbons contributed to this story.