Frank Stranzl

Believe in basketball coach Faith Mimnaugh ” that’s the message coming from Cal Poly’s athletic administration.

On March 26, The Tribune cited sources close to the program that confirmed Mimnaugh’s rehiring.

Three weeks later, no official comment has been made by Cal Poly athletics, but apparently, the report was true.

A source with the program substantiated The Tribune’s claim and said on Tuesday that Mimnaugh would be back on the sidelines of Mott Gym next season with a one-year contract. Following positive meetings with the players and a near .500 season, Cal Poly has decided to bring Mimnaugh back.

Why, then, hasn’t an official announcement been made? The sports information department is mum on Mimnaugh for now, at least until they receive word that the contract is official.

More importantly, what’s the rationale behind the contract extension?

Perhaps the reason for the delayed announcement is athletic director Alison Cone having second thoughts about Mimnaugh’s career record at Cal Poly, a more than slightly sub-par 94-152 in her nine years as head coach. I’d probably be hesitant too.

Or maybe Mimnaugh has yet to put her John Hancock on the contract. That doesn’t make sense, though, because if I were her, I would sign any contract offered to me. I don’t care if they offered me minimum wage, I would consider it a gift with that record.

There have been coaches fired for less over the years. Take, for example, Mike Davis at the University of Indiana.

Davis succeeded the infamous Bobby Knight at Indiana and led the university to three consecutive 20-plus win seasons and trips to the NCAA Tournament, making him the first coach in Indiana University history to do so. His teams made the tournament five of his six years as head coach, defeated four nationally No. 1 ranked opponents and compiled a 115-79 overall record.

Not too shabby, you might say.

Davis’ “success” was met with animosity at the university and he was forced from his position, finally resigning at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season.

Obviously, Indiana basketball isn’t the same as Cal Poly, but does that mean Cal Poly should lower its standards? Davis had a .592 winning percentage and was forced from his job; Mimnaugh has a .382 winning percentage and she’s getting an extension.

Let me also make the disclaimer that Davis followed the most famous basketball coach in the university’s history and one of the best coaches, antics aside, in the history of college basketball. Indiana is an elite Division I program while Cal Poly is not.

On the other hand, sub .500 is sub .500. If you’re coaching basketball for the Guynabo Conquistadores in the National Superior Basketball League of Puerto Rico, sub .500 is means for a job change.

In the world of numbers and measurable outcomes, below .500 means you’re losing more than you’re winning. It’s that simple.

If Mimnaugh comes back and has a phenomenal season with the Mustangs in 2006-07, by all means give her another contract – her success would then justify the re-signing. However, if she performs according to her track-record, this signing could become a huge blunder.

After all, the Mustangs have the talent to be a contender in the Big West with Jessica Eggleston, a first team all-conference starter, returning along with Sparkle Anderson, Emillie Ravn, Megan Harrison and Anthonia Newman, all significant contributors.

On the bright side, the players are happy with Mimnaugh and support the re-signing, said the anonymous source with the program. They still have faith. Nine seasons, 94 wins and no trips to the big dance – do you still have faith in Mimnaugh?

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