From the Saturday, Feb. 18, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …
The WISCH LIST
A Twitter friend of mine calls it BFS.
Battered Fan Syndrome.
And Illini Nation is suffering from it. Badly.
After watching Illinois football tumble from Rose Bowl heights to Tim Beckman and seeing the basketball program slide from national runner-up to perennial NIT candidate, Illini fans collectively have been so beaten down over the past dozen years that many have convinced themselves that they don’t even deserve actual coaching competency and sports success.
With Illini hoops coach John Groce slogging his way through yet another lost season, it’s gotten to the point on social media where almost daily I find myself giving pep talks to fans who are far more blue than orange. Despite the fact that Josh Whitman boldly fired football coach Bill Cubit – on his first day as Illinois athletic director, mind you – and stunned the nation by replacing him with Lovie Smith, many fans still don’t believe that Whitman will even fire Groce, let alone replace him with a top-level coach.
I find all of that to be absolute nonsense.
Because, throughout its history, Illinois never has had difficulty hiring a good basketball coach. But former athletic director Mike Thomas sure did.
I’ll just leave that at that.
This defeatist mindset has become so ingrained among many Illini fans that this week a student columnist for the Daily Illini campus newspaper wrote, “You can complain, boo and tweet all you want. Yell until your lungs get sore and type as fast you can to get #FireGroce trending. But it isn’t going to do anything because John Groce isn’t going anywhere.”