A teenager can only steal cash out of their parent’s billfold for so long before getting caught. Students can only text so many times in class before a professor calls them out on it. A person can get away with eating junk food until the day it catches up to them.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me seven seasons in a row, we have issues. Coach Doug Davalos is in his seventh season with the Bobcats and is piling on to what could be his worst season yet. Davalos took over a dismal program in 2006 and made it less horrible, but the most successful season he has had was going 16-16 in 2010.
His team is 4-14 with nine straight losses and has dropped 14 of their last 16 contests. They are winless in conference play and on the road. Their last two losses were by 17 points. The Bobcats are last in the conference in four categories, eighth or worse in 13 categories.
Davalos might not be the whole problem, but he’s not the solution either. Texas State has not experienced a successful coaching stint since the early ‘90s when half of this column’s readers were not able to walk. Students, faculty, players and loyal fans deserve much better.
Texas State has made strides in other sports. Football competed with some of the most notable non-BCS teams in the country. They were able to sell out (33,006) the 2012 home game against Texas Tech University.
Baseball competes with and beats some of the top teams on its schedule, such as Rice University, Baylor University and Texas Christian University every season. The softball program has found a similar path to success as baseball, competing with teams at the highest level.
Where is men’s basketball on this list? Lost in mediocrity, and that statement might be generous. In fact, it seems more people go to Texas State’s club hockey and rugby games than attend men’s basketball games.
Texas State is currently eighth in the conference (out of 10). Game attendance averages just more than 1,000 at home games. The University of Denver (2,615) and Seattle University (2,712) rank higher than Texas State in attendance. Denver and Seattle have a combined enrollment of approximately 10,000 students, while Texas State has 34,000.
The basketball program should be on the path to success that has been traveled by other Texas State athletic programs. It has become a major feat for the team to participate in a conference tournament, much less come away victorious. Some might believe Davalos deserves a little leeway because the team is playing at a higher level in the WAC. However, Texas State played familiar opponent the University of Texas-Arlington from the Southland Conference, yielding much of the same results – a 91-74 defeat at home.
In the modern day of collegiate athletics, football undoubtedly owns the crown. But many mid-major teams have found athletic success in basketball, such as Butler University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Gonzaga University.
Texas State is not striving for the Sweet 16 or cutting down nets just yet. However, there is an opportunity for the Bobcats to become a successful team. The first initiative for Texas State to have a program like Butler’s or VCU’s is to find a coach. All of the successful mid-major teams have one important thing in common: a great coach. Major basketball powers go to smaller programs for their coach openings because they are considered high-caliber. They win with lesser talent.
There is a good chance Texas State will not have a Larry Brown fall into their lap, as did Southern Methodist University. But a guy can dream. There could be the next Mark Few, Brad Stevens or Shaka Smart coaching at an assistant position somewhere, waiting for their opportunity to hold the reigns and resurrect a basketball program.
It’s like being involved in a bad relationship that is not going anywhere. It is time for a break-up. It is time for Texas State to play the field and see what else is out there. Who knows, the next one could be the one.