[Editor's note: though TOC hasn't covered softball, Zach has quite a background with non-revenue MSU Athletics from his time at The State News. - Joe]
I've had an infamous history when it comes to discussing Michigan State head coaches.
During my tenure with The State News this past year, the daily student-run newspaper at Michigan State, I wrote a column stating my displeasure for Suzy Merchant, the women's basketball head coach, for a magnitude of reasons.
A day later, I received a message from Mitch Lyons on social media, the Vice Chairperson of MSU's Board of Trustees, who said I was "very spiteful" for what I wrote about the Central Michigan graduate.
The column even grabbed the attention of MSU's athletic department, who couldn't believe that a freshman journalism major would have the audacity to publish a piece with so much negatively on a woman who accepted the position before I graduated from the fifth grade.
But let's face it, for someone who completed their eighth year at East Lansing and has advanced to the Sweet 16 once deserves more scrutiny, especially after a putrid ninth place finish in the Big Ten standings last season.
Now onto another coach.
Geoff Preston, a former sports editor at The State News, wrote a column back in April stating that there should be more accountability for the MSU softball team and head coach Jacquie Joseph, but held back on wanting her to be fired.
But that's where I come in, as I ask for the release of Joseph.
Why? Catch a glimpse of the softball program in Ann Arbor.
Eight straight Big Ten championships, an NCAA championship in 2005 and another in close reach on Wednesday against No. 1 ranked Florida in Game 3 of the College Softball World Series. Michigan and head coach Carol Hutchins has produced a dynasty since she took over the position back in 1985, and it's time for the Spartans to experience some of that glory.
MSU has won a Rose Bowl, a Cotton Bowl, multiple NCAA Final Fours and even a national championship in their latest surge in varsity athletics in the past two decades. Yet, does anyone know what sorts of accomplishments Joseph has obtained in her prolonged tenure?
Joseph, who arrived at Michigan State from Bowling Green back in 1994, is one of the winningest head coaches of any sport in MSU history (588-591, 162-176 B1G). She won a Mid-American Conference championship and an appearance in the NCAA tournament in her final year at Bowling Green in 1993, before moving back to her home state.
The Good: Joseph has led MSU to four NCAA regional appearances, while having four seasons of 40-plus wins and nine with 30-plus wins. She has coached six All-Americans, while watching her players earn All-Big Ten honors 44 times and All-Great Lakes Region honors 30 times.
The Bad: The highest Michigan State has finished in the Big Ten standings was third back in 1997 when they notched their highest win total of 47. They've dropped to as low as 12th twice in a three-year span (2012, 2014) and they're coming off a horrendous 2015 campaign of (19-36, 4-19) with a last place ranking. Before 2008, Joseph carried an overall record of 426-336 (.559). Eight seasons later, she's managed to garner a mere 125 wins while falling short 255 times for a winning percentage of (.328).
The Ugly: Joseph was winless in Big Ten play during the 2012 season (11-42, 0-27).
Mark Hollis doesn't accept failure from his athletic programs, which can be seen based on the results of hiring both Mark Dantonio (Football) and Jake Boss Jr. (Baseball). So why does the embarrassment on the softball diamond continue to play itself out?
A source close to Michigan State softball: "Joseph and her program are looked at as a joke by all of the good club programs. Nobody wants to play for MSU and Joseph unless they have a parent that went to MSU, they grew up a Spartan fan or they have no other options. We will never be good as long as she is at MSU.
"In the end, there are a lot of terrible coaches out there, the bottom line with Joseph is that history shows, it isn't working. It is long past the time that MSU gives another up and coming coach a shot. There are plenty who would love to have the resources available at MSU."
A summer coach from one of the top programs in the country once told the source that she couldn't believe Joseph still has her job. The coach speculated if it had anything to do with how many National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) committees Joseph is on.
There are hundreds of young, hungry and motivated individuals who are ready to take on the role of bringing the program out of the Big Ten cellars. But if Joseph still dons the Spartan logo on her chest for the foreseeable future, expect the same repulsive softball to be played at Secchia Stadium.