A Dana Kirk Story That Destroys the Irony Scale

Dana Kirk, who died on Monday, coached Memphis basketball in the 1980s and took them to the 1985 Final Four. He also, according to his Wikipedia page:

  • Graduated six players in seven years.
  • Scalped tickets to games.
  • Laundered money from boosters to give to players.
  • Took kickbacks from tournament organizers.
  • Was indicted on 11 counts of tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice.

He went to prison for four months and Memphis's Final Four appearance was vacated. Which makes this story about Kirk and USF basketball even more ridiculous. It's about halfway down the page. By my math this would have been around 1979 or so:

It's been years (I was kind of being a bit tongue-in-cheek there), but a recruit named Willie Redden was visiting Memphis State right after USF. Two assistant coaches were taking him to the airport, and they drove through a McDonald's on their way and ended up buying Redden a Big Mac. When he got to Memphis, somehow it got mentioned to Dana Kirk, who promptly called the NCAA. It ended up getting us listed as on probation for a year, even though we incurred no penalties, but it cost the coaches their jobs (USF's athletics were on a short leash) and resulted in us going out and hiring Lee Rose.

I guess we probably should thank Kirk instead.

Lee Rose led to Charlie Bradley showing up, only the all-time leading scorer in USF history and the first player to ever have his number retired. So yes, we should thank Kirk for caring so much about honor and integrity that he would bust another school over a freaking hamburger while he himself was breaking federal laws. It's a good thing Five Guys wasn't around back then or it could have cost us some scholarships.

And USF got Willie Redden anyway. He played three seasons, was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1982 NBA draft, and eventually had a long pro career in France.

(A big H/T to USFFan.)

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