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April 20, 2014

SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team

OPINION — WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.

How’s that working out, Dan?

Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.

While I’m not a big NBA fan, it’s easy to see how much ownership plays into the success of various franchises in sports. Gilbert’s track record certainly isn’t great — or even good!

It has been four straight years that the Cavs have failed to make the playoffs.

So unless LeBron actually returns to Cleveland — which he hinted he might like to do — don’t look for much out of Gilbert or the Cavs in the near future.

In fact, Coach Mike Brown will probably be fired again by Gilbert, although I don’t know why he brought him back in the first place. Brown is a defensive-minded coach in an offensive-minded league. And you don’t win games holding the other team to 85 points when you only score 75.

ä Speaking of coaching problems, I watched with interest the situation at the University of Minnesota-Mankato where the football team boycotted the return of fired head coach Todd Hoffner.

Hoffner, who was fired for supposed child pornography about two years ago, was reinstated after a arbitrator’s ruling.

Hoffner reportedly was fired for having photos on his cellphone of his young children being playful after taking a bath. However, a judge ruled they were not pornographic, only showing his children having fun.

There reportedly was another accusation that Hoffner had viewed porn on his work computer, but that was unproven since others had access to the computer as well.

The boycott came Wednesday when Hoffner showed up to coach the team for spring practice. The team didn’t wear their equipment and read a statement that they wanted to keep interim coach Aaron Keen running the team.

However, after a long meeting of coaches and players on Thursday, the team agreed to return to practice under head coach Hoffner, with Keen as an assistant.

But I wonder what could have happened if the team didn’t agree to play for him. Do college athletes really have a say in who coaches them? Or should they have a say?

Would they all lose their scholarships? Or could they actually force a move by a college to get rid of the coach?

Regardless, I have to feel that even though the team returned to practice, there has to be a strained relationship with Hoffner. So we’ll have to see how next season goes at that school.

Lynn Saternow is sports editor of The Herald. He can be reached at lsaternow@sharonherald.com.

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