The Beast : Talking About Jay Rokeach

I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve tried to write this blog. I’ll put the over/under at five and I’m taking the over.

If I had an Achilles Heel, it would be my emotions. I wear mine on my sleeve and it takes great restraint for me to keep a calm head about things that bother me. It’s even tougher to restrain myself when I have so many public outlets thru which I can vent. This time though, I attempted to do the smart thing. After crafting a particularly venomous blog, I erased it and started over. Of course I’ve done this four other times, but who’s counting.

Some things have been going on at my alma mater which I’m not a fan of. It’s not just one move, by one regime, but multiple moves over the last few years. The final straw to me wanting to let loose was finding out that Jay Rokeach, the long time P.A. Announcer at UM sporting events, will do his last football game against Bethune-Cookman. He’ll no longer be allowed to do basketball but will still do baseball.

Jay has taken the PA gig with the Florida Panthers. The Panthers schedule would prevent him from doing two football games, seven basketball games and assorted other baseball games. Officials at ‘The U’, according to Jay, said that they wanted a consistent voice for football and basketball games. They said it was a business decision but it’s bad business if you ask me.

Some of you may love Jay like I do. Some of you may not. It really doesn’t matter. His voice is synonymous with our stadium experience. People like familiar voices. Why do you think Don Pardo has been doing Saturday Night Live since 1975 and why longtime The Price Is Right viewers miss the sultry tones of Rod Roddy telling them to “come on down.”

Voices do matter. Jay has missed games before and Don Jackson has done a great job filling in. Considering this is all happening four games in to the 2011 season, couldn’t ‘The U’ let Jay continue on with football and basketball and then reevaluate in the summer? Why the urgency now?

This isn’t the only example of bad decisions being made. There’s been a bunch over the years. The one that really irks me, and other Canes fans, is the lack of former players on our sidelines during games. That’s one of the oldest traditions that Miami has and it’s been integral to our success.

When Russell Maryland told me that Jerome Brown being on the sideline and keeping him accountable made him a better player, I tend to think it’s important. Another bad business decision.

Speaking of former players, they used to come to practice to. I haven’t seen too many out at the Greentree practice fields lately. More than one former player has told me they have tried to come down to watch practice and been turned away.

Tony Chickillo
, former player and father to current Cane defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo, tried to come watch his son practice on the first day. He was turned away. Evidently this is another tradition that we’ve had that isn’t a part of the 300-page binder.

There were strong rumors that the SugarCanes (ball girls at baseball games) were going to be disbanded, despite being something that Ron Fraser started decades ago. I’m wondering how many people in the athletic department even know who Coach Fraser is these days. I digress.

We have directional parking. We have no external speakers at tailgates. We have parking lots that open a measly four hours before football games. We have no more “We Will Rock You” on the speakers before the game.

Don’t even get me started on the media policies. I know fans don’t really care about media access, and you guys hate us complaining about it, but there’s a reason why you are seeing less UM coverage and more FIU coverage.

No, it’s not because FIU is playing better football. It’s because FIU actually appreciates the coverage. They haven’t made a decision to compete with the media and close out the media. I’ll save this one for another day. All I can tell you is that at one point in time national college football writers would be down here all the time, telling us how great the access was. Now, we barely see those people, and the access, well … it’s slightly better than it is for the North Korean soccer team.

We got three minutes with defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio this week. Really? Three minutes? Again, that’s all for a different time.

The bottom line is that there has been so much turnover in the athletic department that the things that we hold to be important to our tradition and legacy aren’t revered as much any more. You have to wonder why there’s so much turnover in the first place.

Great places to work don’t see people leave at the rate they tend to leave the Hecht center. Don’t get me wrong, I still think ‘The U’ is a great place, I just wish we could stop forgetting our past as we look to the future. The football team’s motto is “Uphold The Legacy”. I’m hoping the athletic department chooses to live by the same motto.

Don’t forget to join us every Thursday night at The Titanic, right next to allCanes, for allCanes Radio. We have a blast. There’s lost of free beer, prizes and great Canes talk. In the words of Mr. Roddy, “come on down”.



12 thoughts on “The Beast : Talking About Jay Rokeach

  1. I have been a season ticket holder for many years for both football and baseball. Fans are treated like family at baseball games,but like unwelcome tenants at football games. Somebody is trying to kill Canes football tradition. What’s worse, is that nobody seems to care. I had a very bad experience at Sun Life Stadium; when I called the U ticket office, they didn’t really care and offered no help whatsoever. (Email me and I will tell you about it).

  2. Has there been any news on a new AD? You mention too much turnover in the athletic department, and I think there has been too much turnover on the football team. We have had no consistency over the past decade between the three head coaches and the numerous changes to assistant coaches under them. Players don’t excel in those types of environments for the most part. Don’t get me wrong. If the wrong head man is there then a change needs to be made. We have just had a lot different offensive and defensive schemes to deal with over recent years. It sounds like the leadership in the athletic department has been leading the way with the dysfunction. We have to turn things around somehow in all areas.

  3. i know you work in the media business. however, I feel like you always overreact a bit on UM’s media policies. you had said that people like hearing familiar voices; maybe that’s the reason Cane want the same guy for football and basketball.

  4. …and another Miami Hurricanes…FIRST DOWN!

    You will be missed soooo much…you are the voice of my youth…the voice of my 30 years on this planet…best of luck with the Panthers(no wait…I hope you hate it and come back to the |__|)

  5. There are times that I don’t even know who this program is anymore. Losing to ND, losing to South Florida, No former players. Shedding ADs and coaches like its cool. Losing to K-State. No OB. Coming out flat almost each and every game. This is really starting to suck.

  6. There is something TERRIBLY WRONG with this program, and I’m not talking about this mutt Shapiro, although he has stuck a dagger thru the heart of Miami football. This university needs to finally decide whether it even WANTS a football program anymore because what we have now is half-assed beyond belief. I cannot see Al Golden staying here another season, especially with huge sanctions coming. Don’t know why anyone who wants to be a winner would hang around this trainwreck. It’s disheartening, discouraging, and it just plain SUCKS!

  7. Great column. These are the types of things that point to larger systemic, cultural issues at the University which can impact organizational performance. I wonder whether a change at the head coaching position will have the kind of impact that is necessary. A lot of research into organizational behavior and performance shows a strong correlation between policies, practices and performance, even when they may not be directly related. For example, while the firing of Jay Rokeach may not cause poor performance, it is related to larger systemic issues that seep into the organziational culture and play a factor in performance. Without going into a lot of theory, suffice it to say that these things matter when it comes down to the ultimate performance measure: winning games. I’m beginning to think that the problems at the U may be larger than we realize and a head coach may not be able to change them.

  8. I love the U and the premise of the article seemed to be on point. As the whining started and the attention whoring began , it almost seemed as if you were trying to be an exemplar of the attention mongering , shoddy excuse for media coverage that the Hecht has been trying to avoid. Maybe a better writer would have sold me ….. Im not buying . Will miss JR for sure….. []_[] []V[]

  9. CANES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s go Canes! I am amped about va tech! CANES BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Have wondered about this for some time now. It seems no matter who is coaching, the team on the field is the same: Disinterested, mistake-prone, and without a sense of unity or ability to beat even mediocre teams most of the time. It never seems to change, and now we have a NCAA investigation of an out-of-control booster no one bothered to stop.

    Does this university even want a football program anymore? I have my doubts.

  11. I would rather miss Jay for 2 games a season than every game. I always thought that he would be here until he ready to drop dead. I’m sad.

  12. Honestly, stop the whining about the media policies

    I don’t want to go too in depth as to why you should b/c it would be a waste of my time, but I know of others who have no complaints (including someone very close to me) .. other than petty ones, such as: there not really being a media room down by the field that you can store your gear (the dugout isn’t the best spot to leave it, there could be another room somewhere in that stadium) -or- there not being food for the media downstairs who are doing actual physical work … as opposed to anyone sitting up in the press box

    For a fact, part of it is the crap stadium that SunLife is .. for a guess, part of it could be Miami scaling back somewhat as well in some aspects

    Think about why they cleaned up the sidelines. Doesn’t take a genius, esp. in the midst of what has been happening this past year … more directly, esp. when the Yahoo article came out. If anything, they could still clean up the sidelines even more in enforcing the basic rules that you learn while covering high school football games

    It would be nice to see more former players out there, I agree. Then again, do you mean guys who are currently playing on Sundays/Monday Night or do you mean players who aren’t in the league or who are older players? I’ve seen Edge on the field this year. Last year, I saw Brian Monroe & Francesco Zampogna on the field, while Randall “Thrill” Hill couldn’t get a sideline pass to the FSU game and had to get one from a friend from FSU .. so “Thrill” went and stood on the FSU side. Why in the f*ck are Brian Monroe & Francesco Zampogna on the field at all? It also takes those former players you want on the field, to go ask for passes .. maybe they have, maybe they haven’t. I saw Brett Romberg on the sideline last year – that, I can get down with. A former kicker/punter though? Seriously? Again though, back to really wondering why right now that Miami is trying to clean up their sideline? Come on. NCAA probably orbiting 8 spy satellites with eagle eyes focused in on Miami anyone?

    I have no problem with not playing the “We Will Rock You” as well as the “Rock You Like A Hurricane” song. Some things do need to come to pass, esp. in 2011. There are certain traditional songs that hold up at certain schools .. they get you hyped, they pull on your heart strings, they unify. I’d be willing to bet there are other songs out there that do a better job than those two songs. No doubt the opening drum beats of the Queen song get you, then again, maybe the remix version of it by Geddy in “I Want It All” is what is needed b/c the original can only do so much and is played out … their ESPN Jock Rock 1 CD might have been lost

    You want to hear “Rock You Like A Hurricane”? Go to an airshow, lift your beer up and be careful not to spill it on your wifebeater or in your mullet as the overhead speakers blare it, while the F-16s do a fly over and you give the “rock on” sign with your hands and bob your head. Hook it up to your Guitar Hero and relive your late teen years in the 80s, jamming away. Better yet, go to karaoke night at Applebees and sing it, then look around and notice just who all in the crowd is bobbing their head to it … probably not the generation you really want it to appeal to. Probably the generation that was actually alive for the Canes 2nd National Championship, knew who Warren Williams was and didn’t think of the injury riddled Matt Patchan at UiF when you mentioned that name, but his father instead

    Play music to get the players hyped up. If it gets the crowd hyped as well, that’s great – if not, eh. The DJ within the stadium does a pretty good job, nice mixes and the little riff they always play with the pounding drums/claps while the defense is on the field (mixed in with the hurricane warning), trying to help them get make a stand – if that helps them get hyped of focused in any way, I’m all for it.

    “Enter Sandman” can get an entire Lane Stadium whipped into a frenzy .. even opposing teams will tell you that. What do you think they say about hearing “Rock You Like A Hurricane”? Seeing the Wisconsin crowd and team get nuts about hearing “Jump Around”, while jumping up and down in unison at the Champs Bowl was crazy … then seeing the Cane fans shivering and Cane players huddled around space heaters on the sidelines while hearing “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, while neither fans or players seemed to really care, was embarrassing. I wanted to go up into the press box, grab the Scorpions 8 Track and 8 Track player it seemed to be played on, take it out back, grab a bat and go all Office Space on it

    Move on and cheer up sourpuss

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