Thoughts on UW-Milwaukee Basketball, the Athletic Department and Admintration

The UW-Milwaukee Panthers lost again in embarrassing fashion last night to the Northern Kentucky Norse, 75-39, inside UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

The loss puts UWM at 7-18 overall and 5-11 in Horizon League play, good enough for ninth place in the 12-team conference.

Milwaukee has now dropped to 330th (out of 358 Division 1 teams) in the KenPom rankings after starting the season ranked No. 121. This will rank as the worst year ever for Milwaukee basketball since KenPom was started in 1997.

Rob Jeter’s worst season in 2012-13, they finished the season 8-24 and No. 301 in the KenPom rankings. Outside of that year, UWM never finished worse than 210 in KenPom under Jeter.

Since Amanda Braun fired Rob Jeter, the programs second winningest coach, after the the 2015-16 season, the Panthers have gone 65-112 (.367) overall and 35-70 (.333) in Horizon League play in the six seasons since. And UWM is on their way to a third 20+-loss season in that span.

I would say it’s like watching the Titanic, but that would be unfair to the crew of the Titanic.

No matter how much the players, coaches, and support staff care, they can’t overcome incompetent administrators.

UWM leads the world in incompetent administrators.

I criticize awful athletic directors like George Koonce (2009-2010), Rick Costello (2010-2012), Andy Geiger (2012-2013) and current AD Amanda Braun (2013-present).

It’s not their fault. Hell, if America elected me President, I’d take the job. If I suck at it, it’s not my fault. I’m not qualified to be President.

Should Amanda Braun turn down an AD job just because she’s horribly under qualified? Hell no. She’s an awful AD and a deplorable human being, but those are the cards she’s been dealt.

Those in charge of the UW System have failed to hire effective administrators at UWM. Failed. F F F F!

Individual boosters are huge to the basketball program and the entire athletic department for that matter. And Amanda Braun alienated the four biggest boosters to the program. I honestly believe that had it been any other AD that alienated David Nicholas (chairman and CEO of Nicholas Company) the way that she alienated him, that athletic director would have been fired.

David was the last one to go and he was the biggest one to go. But Braun alienated David Gruber, she alienated Andrew Chevrolet, to a degree she alienated Harris Turer. They’re on a shoestring budget as far as the money they get from the state, I get that. But in that position, you can’t afford when you’re UW-Milwaukee and you don’t have a ton of big boosters in the first place, you can’t afford to alienate the boosters that you do have. And she’s done that, and she’s done that from the beginning.

One of the biggest problems the athletic department has is, and I mentioned it earlier, I think they’ve failed in hiring administrators. And that goes back to the UW system. They’ve failed. When UWM had the opportunity to hire Paul Plinske from UW-Whitewater, he had the chance to be the Bo Ryan of athletic directors. He had a tremendous amount of success at Whitewater and he had a chance to go to the Division 1 level and be successful there, and instead they hired Amanda Braun, who had never done anything.

It exemplifies the problems that they’ve had in hiring and the problems they’ve had, not just with the athletic department, but with the spot at the top, as well.

When Nancy Zimpher was the chancellor at UWM and Bud Haidet was the athletic director, that was Shangri-La as far as UW-Milwaukee Athletics, because you had a chancellor that understood the importance of Athletics and you had an athletic director that gave his coaches and administrators what they needed in order to get better. They haven’t had that combination ever since.

The decision-makers, the people in charge in the UW System and the people they put in charge at UW-Milwaukee, they don’t necessarily want to be anything more than a steppingstone. It’s an unfortunate thing, but that’s their reality right now. Until things change, that’s just what it is.

Best of luck to those still imprisoned at UWM Athletics. As so often happens in the NCAA, it’s not your fault. Win and get out quick, because long term is fatal at UWM Athletics with this administration.

To all of Panther Nation that’s as fed up with what’s going on as I am, Cheers!

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