This was originally published in The Athletic.
I hosted a radio show three years ago two nights prior to the Crosstown Shootout that provided me an opportunity to do on-air interviews with both head coaches.
Mick Cronin joined me first, and what followed was a good, solid conversation about his team, the looming matchup with the Musketeers and a handful of issues surrounding college basketball. Mick is, among many things, a very worthwhile interview, devoid of canned answers and cliches, and on that particular night, was as engaging, insightful and willing to play along with my radio shenanigans.
So was Chris Mack. XU’s coach was next, and after needling me about dribbling chili all over my shirt (we were at a Skyline), he proceeded to chat freely about his squad, the Shootout and whatever the hell else I brought up. I’ve always enjoyed talking to Chris who’s just as engaging as Mick, willing to provide honest, thoughtful answers with no coachspeak.
I took audio recordings of the interviews, put them online and promoted them via social media. These were, at least I think, the coaches’ final pre-Shootout interviews, and I thought fans would enjoy them as much as I did. Most of the feedback was good, or at least as good as feedback on social media can be, and I was grateful to have both guys be so generous with their time.
But there was this one email, not sent from some anonymous, made-up account, but from a guy using his work-related address, complete with job title and contact info at the bottom. This man first identified himself as a Xavier fan, then proceeded to tell me that he’d listened to the recordings of both interviews, expressing gratitude to me for posting what he didn’t have a chance to hear live. The note, though, soon turned sour, with the guy lambasting me for my unfairness, taking me to task for showing UC and its head basketball coach such favoritism. He called me a “fanboy” and a “suck up” to Cronin, while mocking my lack of objectivity. According to him, I was obviously a poor choice to interview Mack because of my obvious anti-Xavier bias, even though he did admit that I knew what I was talking about and asked good, fair questions.
So what was his beef?
To read the entire piece, go to The Athletic.
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