About 15 years ago, Tulsa basketball was coming off an NIT championship as they beat the University of Detroit for their second such championship in school history.
At the time, Golden Hurricane basketball was coached by Buzz Peterson, who accepted the Tulsa job after Bill Self, who took the Tulsa program to the 2000 Elite Eight, accepted the job at the University of Illinois. After winning 26 games in 2000-01, the former roommate of one Michael Jordan parlayed that into a gig at Tennessee.
In his place was an Oklahoma high school coaching legend by the name of John Phillips, who led the Golden Hurricane to the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Another tournament appearance came the following year as the Golden Hurricane lost to the Dayton Flyers.
Then the bottom fell out.
After a slow start in 2003-04, Phillips would resign as head basketball coach at Tulsa, beginning a tournament drought that lasted until this past season when the Golden Hurricane made the Big Dance under current Wake Forest head man Danny Manning.
So what does this have to do with Golden Hurricane football?
Much like Tulsa basketball, Golden Hurricane football has had periods of great success, especially in the last 10 years with coaches like Steve Kragathorpe and Todd Graham, coaches who have parlayed success at Tulsa into bigger jobs, something that the aforementioned Self, Peterson, and Tubby Smith did during their time at the school in hoops.
And much like Tulsa basketball post-Peterson, in which Tulsa officials decided to go with a guy that was less likely to leave for another school when they hired Phillips in 2001, the Bill Blankenship hire, which looked to be a great move as the Golden Hurricane won the Conference USA title in 2012 as well as the Liberty Bowl over Iowa State, has turned into Phillips 2.0.
Since that bowl win over Iowa State in 2012, the legendary Oklahoma high school coach's record at his alma mater is a gaudy 4-15, which pales in comparison to his 19-8 record with Todd Graham's players.
Along with that, Tulsa in the last two seasons has posted a record of 2-8 in Chapman Stadium, with the second win being against the Tulane Green Wave on August 28th, a far cry from the 13-2 home record that Tulsa posted in 2011-12.
Anytime you can't protect home field with players that you recruited, it tells me that you're in over your head as well as unable to rally your team around, especially after what happened on Saturday when South Florida walked into Chapman Stadium and rallied to beat the Golden Hurricane 38-30 after the Bulls trailed 27-7 at the half.
And just as he did after the loss against the Temple Owls on October 11th, Blankenship and his staff couldn't find the answers to what went wrong in Tulsa.
"We got to keep fighting out of this hole", Blankenship told the Tulsa World.
Exactly what is the size of the hole you're trying to fight out of Coach?
Because at the present moment the hole that Tulsa is in is halfway to China.