Trying To Live Up To Expectations

A quick look around the country gives rise to the conclu sion that in sports expectations are everything.

There are rumors around the NBA that Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson is on the hot seat. If that’s true, it’s quite remarkable, considering the Warriors have won 50 games two years running and made a nice little run in last year’s playoffs. Many franchisees aspire to be where Golden State is now, but management believes they have an NBA championship-level roster.

Even a first-round playoff win against the Clippers might not be enough to salvage Jackson’s job.

And the chances of that happening have been seriously reduced after Andrew Bogut’s injury has sidelined him for the postseason. Never mind that most NBA observers believe that the Warriors are no better than fifth or sixth in talent among teams in just the Western Conference.

Jackson’s players love him, and have played hard enough to make them the fifth-best defensive team in the league, to go with an already potent offense.

College football coaches also are highly susceptible to high expectations.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp was a hot ticket as an assistant at Texas, but last year’s losing season has warmed up his seat as well. He probably needs nine wins to survive the upcoming season.

It’s no wonder that Tennessee basketball’s Cuonzo Martin left an Elite Eight program for a job at California. Sources close to the Volunteer program say that unrealistic expectations caused him to look elsewhere.

Which makes it much more understandable when June Jones once told me that Alabama and Notre Dame were not particularly desirable jobs because very good is never good enough and great is only acceptable.

Crazy expectations have become the bane of many coaching careers.

* As the Masters played out at Augusta with only a few good story lines and precious little drama, the golfing world began to speculate on when Tiger Woods might return. Some are saying if he can make it back for the PGA Championship in August, golf should count itself lucky.

The more people examine Woods’ health, the more curiosity develops about his fitness approach, which found him in the gym pumping iron to an extent never before seen in golf.

You can only wonder about his increase in muscle mass, which is amazingly obvious when you compare photos of Woods right out of Stanford with the NFL-like physique he currently carries.

Has it cost him the necessary flexibility to avoid serious injury? It will be hard to ever really know, because Woods is not forthcoming about any of his training or practice regimens.

And while the Bubba Watsons and Jordan Spieths of the world are fine players, neither they nor anybody else on golf’s immediate horizon appear ready to duplicate the Tiger Woods phenomenon.