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By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
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Black Coach Hypocrisy
Skills, not skin color: Uncle Luke's latest column argues that black coaches do not get second chances after bad seasons ("Racist U.," Luther Campbell, December 6), and uses Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach as examples of questionable white college coaches who got rehired. Has Luke not followed college football for the past decade? Leach and Rodriguez are regarded as two of the best offensive minds in college football. Leach was the 2008 Coach of the Year. Rodriguez was one game away from taking West Virginia to the national championship. Rodriguez did not have a good record at Michigan, mainly because he was trying to install a new offensive system and needed different types of players. The boosters of the program, who did not see him as a "Michigan man," also disliked him. Former University of Miami coach Randy Shannon, meanwhile, was a mediocre head coach at best. He was not remarkable in any way that I can remember. Some people, regardless of football knowledge, are just not meant to be head coaches. Offensive-minded coaches usually receive more publicity than other coaches. Most of the recent coaching hires, including Kevin Sumlin (the only black head coach in the SEC), have explosive offenses, and that is what led to their hiring. Offenses that put up big numbers are a fast way to get fans back in the seats and make your program relevant nationally. Good defensive head coaches are harder to find, but Charlie Strong (another black head coach, at Louisville) is a great example. Luke might have a valid point regarding black coaches not getting the same chances at head coaching jobs, but he chose two examples that do not support his point in any way. Instead, they prove that coaching ability was the determining factor if they were hired or not. Michael Brown
Money talks: How does Luke explain the firing last week of Mario Cristobal, Florida International University's head coach? He was a Latino coach at a school where most of the student body and alumni are Latino. The true decision-makers of a college program are the school's administration and the big-money boosters. Money talks loudly in college sports. If Phil Knight at Oregon or T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State liked a black coach, they would make sure they were hired and keep them around. One of the big issues in college sports is there are no prominent black donors and alumni at most schools. In the case of the University of Miami, Shannon was run out because he did not care about building relationships with the boosters. Donors were alienated, so when the football program was not winning, they would not financially support it. Shannon will have a difficult time landing a new job, not because he is black, but because he does not care to ass-kiss the boosters. Bige3969
Wins are what matter: I don't think race has anything to do whether a coach keeps his job. As long as the program wins, the coach keeps his job, unless there are scandals. The bottom line is if you don't win, you don't get to keep your job. Terrell1966
Constructive criticism: Thank you for visiting Toro Toro and for your thoughtful, detailed review ("Bullish on Downtown," Emily Codik, December 6). Our kitchen and front-of-house staff will definitely take a look at your feedback and strive to improve where improvements are needed. I would like to take a moment to address two key concerns you expressed, as some clarification will add much-needed context.
Toro Toro is a unique restaurant concept with an identity and personality all its own. Be that as it may, it is located inside our hotel, and as such, we believe communication between the restaurant and the hotel is key. To that end, the hostesses at Toro Toro query incoming diners as to whether they are hotel guests so that restaurant management can reach out to our hotel team and determine if the diners are staying with us for a special occasion, have any preferences on file, or to have their meal billed to their room. We do this to enhance the experience for all our diners, locals — our year-round customers — and hotel guests; adding small personal touches to every diner's meal at Toro Toro is just one way we are working hard to make the restaurant "an enticing option for downtowners."
Regarding your take on the lobby's décor: It is very much a work in progress, as we are in the midst of a multimillion-dollar redesign, which includes what we think will be a stunning, high-tech, interactive lobby lounge complete with a property-wide New Media arts program, a portion of which we unveiled late last week in celebration of Art Basel. When the redesign is complete, the screens in the lobby will become a New Media art space, showcasing local and international art, as well as unique imagery designed for the property itself. We hope you'll keep Toro Toro and the InterContinental Miami in mind for a return visit. We are very happy with what we've accomplished thus far and are truly excited about what is yet to come. Robert Hill, General Manager, InterContinental Miami