Buzz Williams clears the air on post-game comments

Marquette coach Buzz Williams asked me today to clear the air and to clarify comments made regarding his press conference following Marquette’s 62-53 win over Murray State.

Williams made comments referring to those who had “jumped off the boat” on point guard Junior Cadougan after the Big East Tournament and shooting guard Todd Mayo during his mid-season slump.

Buzz Williams’ initial response when asked about his comments:

“The only info I read off the internet, are articles that one of my assistant prints for me, that she thinks that I would be interested in reading, or can learn from. She has a list of sites she monitors for me each week, and gives me a stack of things to read each day. Some of it is sports related, but most of it, is spiritual, or leadership specific.

My comments specific to Junior and Todd in the press conference, were because other players on our team had told me what was written in the school newspaper – of which I have never read either. That is why my comments were directed towards those student writers. What was said, or when it was said, I am not sure. I didn’t ask them, because it was a comment that they made to me in passing, it wasn’t a conversation.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and unlike most coaches, I stay away from the all that is generated by the fans or the media, so that I can always be honest in my responses to them, instead of trying to have an agenda. Our kids understand the responsibilities that come with their talent, but I will always fight for them/support them, no matter the agenda, and no matter the outward response to my support, that is who I am, and that is the relationship I have with our kids. I assure you, I have never tried to insulate them from anything, to be more blunt, I try to create more havoc on a daily basis than anything they would ever read or hear.

If we tracked and followed, or were consumed with what the Journal Sentinel, the school newspaper, or fan sites said about us, we would all be out of a job, and scholarship.”

Being the men’s basketball beat reporter, I sent Williams an email with an explanation on behalf of the Marquette Tribune and Paint Touches. I explained to coach Williams the student newspaper’s objectives and goals, and that our intentions have never been and will never be to unfairly criticize his team.

Our email to coach Williams, which he asked us to share:

Coach Williams,
I apologize for not formally introducing myself earlier in the year, but my name is Mark Strotman and I am the men’s basketball beat reporter for the Marquette Tribune. I am also the founder and head writer for Paint Touches, our men’s basketball website.
Over the past four months, I have worked hard to produce Marquette basketball content that portrayed the talent and maturity of your team while also adhering to professional journalistic standards.
An e-mail you sent to someone regarding Saturday’s press conference was posted on MUScoop.com. I am not sure if you intended it to be posted publicly, but in your response you mentioned your answer to the question about Todd Mayo and Junior Cadougan. You wrote that it was directed at the student writers because of something you had heard that was written in the Marquette Tribune. I was the one who asked you the question Saturday night.
I can safely assume the article of which your players spoke was about the team’s performance in New York City.
The truth is, at times I have difficulty shedding Marquette in TOO positive a light because I started as a fan before I covered the team. I have never “jumped off the boat” on Todd, Junior, or any player in a Marquette uniform. The start to Jimmy Butler’s sophomore season should be justification enough never to write off a player because of an inconsistent stretch of play.
I am not looking for your approval in regards to my journalistic skill because I know you have far more important things to worry about. What I am asking is that you understand that I try my very best, every day, to shed the program and community you have built at Marquette in a positive, accurate way. Selfishly, I do not want my name and Paint Touches’ name looked upon negatively because of one article.
This past week, I had the privilege to speak with Jae Crowder’s father, Corey, and gain insight into how he shaped Jae as a person. The story is here if you have the time and desire to read it.
Again, I am not looking for a pat on the back for my work. But at the very least, I want you to know that I do not make rash statements, and that I back up my opinions with quantitative stats, and have never and will never unfairly portray a player in the media. I want to be in this business a long time and will not get anywhere without professional journalistic standards in everything I write.
It has been an honor and a privilege to cover your team the last 3 years, and I hope I can go out on a positive note.
I can’t imagine how busy your schedule is, so thank you for taking time to read this. It truly is important to me.
Sincerely,
Mark Strotman
Williams responded about 90 minutes later, clearing any perceived discontent he had with any media coverage.
I have received several emails today, all along the same lines as yours.

Not trying to being rude, but I do not have a long time to spend in responding, so I will be to the point.

I have responded to every email/letter/text/call in one form or another since I have been employed here- whether they are supportive or not – and amongst the overwhelming # of emails/texts/calls I have received in a positive manner about my postgame comments, to be frank, I was astonished, that what I had to say about Junior and Todd has caused such a stir amidst our fans.

I understand that my transparency is sometimes appreciated, but can also be harmful. I am not sure that I know any of the MU students involved in covering our team by name and I do not read any of what you write, but I have always tried to go out of my way during my time here, to be kind to all of you, because I have lived that experience of trying to establish your future career early. I always refer to Tess by name, because she is the only female I ever recognize who is a student, but I admire the consistency that all of you have had throughout the year, so I am at times even more revealing to you guys, than others.

When I responded to the email earlier today, I did not know who he was, but as I mentioned earlier, it is just my typical habit to reply. Having said that, I did not know he was going to use it to post it on a message board, and it would then be passed along to you. I suppose that is another example of how being transparent, and trying to do right, can backfire on you.

I support any and all of our MU students, regardless of their chosen field, so do not feel as though you have to ever please me, or anyone within our organization. We are all big boys, and understand that part of the responsibilities of the exposure we receive, will sometimes cause things to be written or said that we may not be agree with.

Your email clearly explains the derivative of my postgame comments. I was not upset when I made those comments, and because I did not know who wrote the article, and it was what one of our older kids told me in passing, then our email will help explain it to all involved. This is all probably too over the top, but like a game, I want to ‘close it out’, the right way.

Again, coach Williams wanted me to relay this message to all Marquette fans who may have questions or concerns as to why his post-game comments were made. Consider the matter over.

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3 Comments on “Buzz Williams clears the air on post-game comments”

  1. Dil
    March 20, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Why don’t you leave the guy alone so he can coach the team, and not piss him off, because quite frankly less than 300 people will read this and those 300 people mean far less to the team than Buzz.

    • March 20, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Because Buzz asked me to contact him, and then asked me to post this.

  2. Jam Chowder
    March 20, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Hey Dil. As Buzz said, he is a “big boy.” He can make decisions as to what he feels is or is not worth his time. He doesn’t need you to babysit him.

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