Welcome back, Mike Maynard!

Not that I’m rooting for or against a football coach ⎯ first suspended, then reinstated ⎯ by the University of Redlands over a fairly haphazard tweet. He’s back on the job. There’s more to it than that. I think.

This isn’t the kind of publicity this campus desires.

It hurts business.

It hurts recruiting.

On the other hand, it could lift recruiting to unprecedented heights.

Maynard comes out of this, perhaps, looking like a hero. Stood up for what’s right. Got a ton of support. Some naysayers, though, who probably don’t know where Ted Runner Stadium, the Bulldogs' home stadium, is even located.

But there’s something fishy in Maynard’s reinstatement. Quoted appropriately on “how good it is to be back,” something’s wrong. Something’s up. Intuition, plus a fairly unique set of whisperings from insiders, has me on edge.

There was something about his text to me.

“Not a good time for me. Cannot speak to press. Doesn’t matter the topic. I cannot correspond till further notice. Sorry.”

I was looking for background on Redlands’ summer football camps. It’s something he loves to talk about ⎯ but couldn’t.

Maynard is a highly-principled man. As far as I’m concerned, he’d be perfect for a post as school superintendent, city mayor, county supervisor, chaplain, you name it ⎯ that’s how principled I believe he’s proven himself to be.

I think he’s owed more than just reinstatement.

Maybe, an apology.

A raise.

Complete reversal of this madhouse, month-long political over-correctness.

He was reinstated, publicly, by Dr. Ralph Kuncl, the campus president. Some nice words. Supportive words. A “3,100-to-1,400” for-against count on social media support.

Kuncl: “A nine-word inadvertent tweet … no evidence of hostile or unjust intentions … an ironic post that was a mistake.”

It was a nice roundup.

This was turning into a mess, though. What was that number again? Fourteen-hundred against? C’mon!

I was told, privately, “Obrey, he’ll be fine.”

* * *

More on U of R sometime soon: Its June high school camps were shut down ⎯ I believe all readers know that reason ⎯ which killed off an incredible recruiting tool for that campus.

Pinch-hitting for Maynard: None other than 14th-year Bulldog assistant coach Joey Mariani, whose background includes coaching alongside Fontana’s Dick Bruich in 1989 (first coaching gig), the year when the Steelers shut down a stud San Gorgonio team in the CIF championship with three future NFL guys on the Spartans’ roster.

One of those was Ron Rivers, who backed up Barry Sanders for five years in Detroit.

Another was safety Chris Hayes, who played for Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, Bill Parcells for the New York Jets, plus Bill Belichick (a Parcells assistant with the Jets) on Harris’ last stop on his NFL career in New England.

For Mariani, what an introduction to a coaching career, right? A state championship in his first season.

He took up for Maynard in chatting about those lost summer camps.

Right away, the jovial Mariani said, “Why do you want to talk about the summer camps? We didn’t have any.”

Losing the camps, though, was huge.

More on Rivers, Hayes in a few weeks.

More on Maynard: Why should anyone care about his situation? One reason is this: He runs the best football program for miles and miles.

Another: I kept hearing questions from people that aren’t even football fans. They kept asking. Folks, this is a story.

Plus this: Football at Redlands is as much a business as it is education and athletics.

Athletics is damned expensive. It’s not like USC or Florida State, which has huge money sponsors, advertisers in almost every element, plus significant radio and TV deals. Throw in millions on donations.

Redlands has a fraction of that. They have plenty of expenses, though.

Students, including all athletes, are charged around $60,000. I’ve always wondered how much it would cost a student to attend Redlands if there wasn’t an athletics program.

There are no athletic scholarships. There are merit-based grants, academic scholarships, plus various financial aid packages to help cut down each student’s portion of that 60-grand. Lots of ways to fund an education.

I call that pay-for-play.

I also call it playing for the love of the game.

Maynard’s roster size is around 80 players, give or take. This reason, that roster includes Aquinas' Andrew Kellstrom and San Gorgonio's Dean Aceves.

At $60,000 per, let’s see, that’s a whopping $4.8 million. Round it off at $5 million.

A Redlands coach told me once: Professors in English or accounting don’t recruit students to campus. Neither do the engineering and economic departments. Or any other departments.

Football does the best business on that campus.

In return, those football players (all campus athletes, in reality) should expect the absolute best environment ⎯ facilities, staff that includes medical training, assistant coaches, field maintenance, equipment personnel, clean showers, weight training room, first rate transportation, just anything you can possibly imagine.

When Maynard arrived in 1988, his only full time assistant coach had to coach the baseball team, too. Football was a bare bones program. Not any more.

(Got a comment about sports? Have a sports question? Hit me up at baseballolb@hotmail.com)

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