Having known Dave Bliss a long time, his heart has always been in the right place.
From when he was on one of the great staffs in college basketball at Indiana, during his days at Cornell and over the years at places like New Mexico and Baylor, there is no doubt in my mind that he holds his athletes close to his heart.
But the bottom line is, nobody could blame Baylor president Robert Sloan for asking for the resignations of Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton.
Bliss decided to resign as head coach after an internal investigation at Baylor discovered violations within the basketball program involving improper financial aid and failure to adequately report a number of drug-test results. The school decided to put itself on probation immediately, and the Bears will skip postseason play in 2003-04.
Think about this: How in the world could Bliss or his staff walk into a student-athlete's home in a recruiting situation now? After all the problems that have occurred, it would have been impossible. Imagine how much negative recruiting would have taken place by staffs at other schools.
The ultimate was the tragic death of Patrick Dennehy. It doesn't get any worse for a program when a situation like that takes place. In addition, there was intense pressure on Bliss after a number of media reports cast a negative light on the program. You could feel the pot boiling over, leading to the resignation.
Whether all the charges are valid, who knows. When it comes to building a program, recruiting is the heart and soul of getting a solid team in place. It was clear that it would be difficult to tell parents of a prospective athlete that the program was the best fit for that young man.
How could Bliss or his staff walk into a student-athlete's home in a recruiting situation now?
That said, there was no way that in a month or two the situation would be cleared up for Bliss and company to do a good job recruiting. Instead, Baylor will try to move in a positive direction now.
You feel for all parties involved. You can't blame president Sloan, because a coach and his staff have to be held accountable for the actions of the program. The head coach has to know what's happening within that environment.
It's sad to see how this story has transpired. Nothing will bring Dennehy back. The loss of life is far, far more significant than anything that happens on the court.
Now allegations of wrongdoing cloud the program as well. It will probably take a long time for Baylor's basketball program to get back on track.