Now that Jeff Oliver’s gone as Cal State San Bernardino’s men’s basketball coach, I take issue. We’re betting he didn’t really want to go.

Recently, a question was posed by a reader:

Whatever happened to the Coyote Athletic Association? It once had considerable clout. It doesn’t seem all that active in these days. Have some contributors been hijacked to places like the school’s advancement division?

Athletics once belonged to the advancement division, but now slot in under student services. That may eliminate some good recruiting dollars, lost perhaps, for bringing in student-athletes? Some donors might’ve been cherry-picked to place their money into different campus (non-athletic) places.

Did Oliver get out-coached? Or did Cal State get out-spent?

It’d be kind of interesting to poke around for that answer.

There’s a new athletic director. Just less than a year ago, Shawn Ferrell showed up from Seattle University to take over as Coyotes’ A.D.

Sometimes, new blood takes a hard look at the old blood.

What’s next, we wonder? Or, should we say, who’s next?

At 8-8-1, Coyotes’ men didn’t make the conference’s soccer playoff last season. Their 6-5-1 CCAA record, though, should buy Darren Leslie another season, or two. That 10-6-1 mark under his interim coach’s tag in 2016 still looks sharp.

LeBaron Holliman, Cal State’s women’s coach, has a team that finished a brilliant 14-4-1 back in 2014. He was the “interim” soccer coach that season, earning a chance to lead the Lady Coyotes to 5-10-3, 8-7-2 and 6-9-2 records since.

Since we’re talking about people’s jobs here, we should carefully note that playing fields should be level. Level, that is, with the other teams.

A few weeks back, we showcased the spending advantages UC San Diego and Cal Poly Pomona, among other CCAA rivals, have over the Coyotes.

Don’t give me the speech, either, that coaches and teams are occasionally asked to “play over their heads.”

That doesn’t wash. It’s either equal, or you need to make arrangements to even it up.

A Cal State coach told me a few years ago to look at the amount of spending done by each conference member.

At that point, Cal State sat somewhere near the lower middle of 13 CCAA schools. Other than volleyball, which has a splendidly-earned budget, the middle of the standings is where most Coyote teams land.

This season, the Coyotes finished seventh in the men’s 13-team CCAA basketball race – exactly in the middle. Money spent by Cal State might’ve tended toward the bottom. In which case, Oliver over-achieved.

Baseball opened 2018 with an 8-game losing streak, won seven of its next 10, then dropped six straight. But Mike Nadeau just got here, one of Ferrell’s first hires. We’re thinking Nadeau’s got a few years to recruit his kind of team.

Softball’s Jim Maier won’t be touched – 118-80 record since 2015 – with a lineup assembled from some of his sport’s hotbeds. The Lady Coyotes have come close to reaching peak levels.

Volleyball’s future is chiseled in stone.

Here’s why Cal State’s so huge around these parts:

Beaumont boys’ basketball coach Jon Florence is a Coyote alum.

So is Cougars’ soccer coach Barry Steele.

In case you haven’t noticed Lady Cougar volleyball success, consider that Jessica Granados and Sara Rice are past All-American players from … Cal State.

There could be more. Look at the state of Beaumont athletics because of those connections.

Isn’t it curious that the school has women’s cross country and track & field, but no funding for men in those same sports? Men have golf, but the women don’t. Women’s tennis and water polo, cut a few years back to clear the way for track & field, might’ve been a reflection of former A.D. Kevin Hatcher – a college and track sprinter.

Funding comes from season ticket sales. Since 1996, the Dave Stockton Golf Classic (June 4) has raised, we’re hearing, around $700,000 for scholarships. Word is, it’s fallen off in participation and donors.

The answer is simple: Cal State, living under Federal Title IX law, tends to favor the women’s sports lineup for one simple reason: Female students outnumber male students on campus by a significant margin. Equity is required.

It’s one reason you’ll see six intercollegiate sports in Cal State’s women’s lineup, plus a cheer squad. There are four men’s sports.

All of which doesn’t seem all that much justification for letting Oliver depart. Try recruiting with an unequal budget. Can’t be done.

I think the Coyotes lost a good coach. An equitable budget would’ve lifted the Coyotes into CCAA elite.

You hate to see people lose their jobs over inequality.


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