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Published: 1/16/2006

Joplin could take image tips from Dakich

BOWLING GREEN He s posted a losing record in two of the last three seasons, with a third losing campaign in four seasons a possibility.

He s 51-52 overall and 29-29 in the Mid-American Conference during that span.

He s experienced his fair share of coaching turnover, player injuries and player transfers as well.

Yes, indeed, Bowling Green basketball coach Dan Dakich is living a charmed life.

Leave BG in a hot minute for a better-paying and more-prestigious job at West Virginia.

Have second thoughts about the West Virginia job because of potential NCAA sanctions and, by the grace of BG athletic director Paul Krebs, get his old job back.

Post back-to-back losing seasons in the first two years of his second go-round at BG. Overcome adversity to post a respectable 18-11 record last season.

Open this season with a big win against Virginia Tech but fall upon hard times and fight an uphill battle to improve to 6-8 and 2-2 in the MAC following yesterday s 59-52 win over Toledo in Anderson Arena.

Indeed. How does Dakich, now in his ninth season at BG, live such a charmed life?

Inquiring minds want to know, beginning with lame-duck UT coach Stan Joplin.

Joplin is in the last year of his contract with no promise of an extension short of winning the MAC tournament and earning the league s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. He could be coaching his final games with the erratic Rockets (8-5, 1-4 in the MAC), who committed 24 turnovers yesterday.

Joplin is the second-winningest coach at UT, behind his college coach and mentor, Bob Nichols. He s beaten Dakich in eight of their last 12 meetings.

But Joplin, who rarely opens up for the opinion-making media, has never grasped the important nuances of what it takes to sell his program to the public.

That s a big mistake at UT, where basketball is a distant second to football.

Joplin should have sat in on Dakich s press conference yesterday. He would have learned a few things.

Dakich understands there s more to coaching than, well, coaching.

Upon entering the interview room, Dakich made small talk with a reporter and then made it a point to praise UT s players before talking about his own team.

I thought this was a really hard-played game, Dakich said. I don t know of a team in our league that plays harder [than UT].

By comparison, Joplin was all gloom and doom when he met with reporters. He spoke barely above a whisper and looked and sounded like a coach who realizes the axe is about to fall.

Obviously, we re disappointed, said Joplin, whose team fell behind 13-2 at the start. We couldn t come up with the plays down the stretch. They were more aggressive than we were. We were standing straight up and down.

Score another one for Dakich.

Still, it s hard to overlook the obvious, that Dakich is one game under .500 since returning to BG after going 89-57 with a MAC championship, two 20-win campaigns and a pair of National Invitation Tournament appearances in his first five seasons. Smooth operator or not, Dakich needs the Falcons to develop more consistency to avoid their third losing record in four seasons.



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