M-I-Z... E-R-Y: The Grim Linker vs Ron P.

Consider this contest the facepalm portion of the M-I-Z... E-R-Y bracket.

Gary Link Fires Quin Snyder

Allegedly, Quin Snyder refused to meet with Mike Alden. Alden had asked him about the possibility of him resigning a year earlier, and he had refused. He had asked Alden and Chancellor Brady Deaton for a vote of confidence before the 2005-06 season had begun, and they had refused. Alden couldn't necessarily fire Snyder because he had two years remaining on his contract, and the buyout would be significant, but by February 2006, Alden and Snyder allegedly had no working relationship whatsoever. And, also allegedly, Snyder was a no-show for any meeting Alden set up between the two. So Alden unleashed his secret weapon: the nicest person in the world, Gary Link.

Link, the "special assistant to the athletic director," went to Snyder's home on a Thursday evening in early February and allegedly informed Snyder that he would not be retained at the end of the season; though most details of the conversation are unknown, Snyder resigned the next day.

Perhaps never in the history of college athletics has an athletic director seen public support so completely disappear (not that he really had any before) despite giving the fanbase exactly what they wanted (in this case, a Snyder ouster). But that's what happened. Within a week, university president Elson Floyd was questioning him, Jon Sundvold was (for what was certainly -- and sadly -- not the last time) publicly sandbagging him, and fans were generating online petitions demanding his resignation.

(Actually, this even led me to officially 'quitting' Tigerboard, which eventually led to my decision to start a Missouri blog, so ... thanks, everybody!)

The Seinfeldian version of this story goes as follows: Mizzou fans demand an end to Quin Snyder's tenure as head basketball coach, Quin Snyder is ousted, yadda yadda yadda, Mizzou fans get even angrier. As details emerged, it made nobody look good, from Snyder (uncooperative employee who refused to go down without a messy public fight) to Alden (couldn't keep an employee in check, sent an underling to said employees house instead of doing it himself) to Floyd (privately backed his athletic director, publicly questioned him) to Link (okay, not really, nothing could make Link look bad) to Sundvold (revealed that he has no problem stabbing Mizzou's athletic director in the back, knowing that his public reputation will never be damaged in the eyes of a good portion of the fanbase, and did so quite a few times over the next few weeks).

Though perhaps not the most painful moment on this list, it was almost certainly the least proud moment. Everybody revealed their character flaws, and the Mizzou family had to rebuild itself with less trust than ever before. That the Mizzou family has come back together since then is both miraculous and heart-warming. Few programs have so publicly bottomed out, and few programs have so completely earned the success they have since seen since.

A Young Dynamo Named Ron Prince

"KANSAS STATE FANS WERE SOLD A BILL OF GOODS."

Perhaps one of the more enjoyable memes on Rock M Nation is The Beef's hatred of Ron Prince. Down 20+ in Columbia in 2006, in an epic downpour, Prince used all of his timeouts for no real reason to delay the inevitable. Down 20+ in Columbia in 2008, amid freezing temperatures, Prince left his starters in against Missouri's backups to score a couple of worthless touchdowns, uncorking a surprise onside kick in the process, then used all of his timeouts to delay the inevitable. The result: a postgame podcast that included a Beefy rant so good that it got Ron Prince into the M-I-Z... E-R-Y bracket all on its own. Prince certainly didn't earn inclusion in this contest because of the quality of his team's play -- Bill Snyder retired after beating Gary Pinkel approximately 34 consecutive times, then Prince went winless against the Tigers, never coming closer than 17 points. But the hate is strong nonetheless. And entertaining. Strong and entertaining.

That these two entities are facing off is fitting, actually -- Prince was, in a lot of ways, Kansas State's Quin Snyder (without the success, and without the drug rumors), a young, charismatic, "scary smart" coach who was supposed to dominate the sport for decades but crashed and burned, dragging his athletic department down with him. Because of the money involved, Prince's case was perhaps even worse for K-State than Snyder was for Mizzou, but both left their programs both embarrassed and worse off than they found them.

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