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“The Good Wife” or the Good Life; Buzz Williams and Josh Charles choose theirs

Last night after hours (and hours and hours and hours) of NCAA basketball, I watched Sunday night’s episode of “The Good Wife” a CBS TV drama that stars Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi.

In a surprising, truly, shocking twist, Charles’ character, Will Gardner, an original cast member, was killed. As someone who has followed the show most of its five seasons, I was shocked. SHOCKED that this happened!

I’m not someone who follows general entertainment media, but still STUNNED(!) over Will’s death last night, I read an exclusive interview that Charles gave to It was there I learned that it was Charles’ decision to step away from the show. This got me thinking. Josh Charles voluntarily walked away from a successful show in which he played a key character; one that won him and the show awards, was well written and produced, and achieved consistently high ratings. Charles said his life had changed and he wanted new challenges. He said he was ready to move on to see what else was out there.

Sound familiar sports fans – specifically, Marquette basketball fans?

I spent part of the weekend defending former Marquette basketball coach’s Buzz Williams’ decision to make what appears on paper to be a lateral career move. It was announced Friday that Williams decided to leave the Milwaukee school to coach Virginia Tech basketball. The Hokies. In Blacksburg. A “football school.” Languished at the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings the last couple of seasons. Williams, while keeping his reasons close to the vest, said that he was ready for and  excited about a new challenge.

It wasn’t long before the ugly of social media reared its head. There were fans that lashed out at Williams’ decision to leave Marquette. They called him a turncoat, traitor and worse, told him not to let the door hit him on the backside when he got on the plane to Blacksburg (that plane likely flew to Roanoke from where he drove to Blacksburg).

I defended the move mostly because based on media reports, it was Williams’ own, and because in life, many of us fall out of love with our current situations. We want new challenges, different experiences that we might not find where we are. It’s called life of a professional. Shoot, it’s life, period. The Big East had changed, the dynamics of Marquette athletics was in flux with vacancies in key administrative positions and at Virginia Tech, Williams was offered an opportunity in which he likely saw stability and let’s face it – it’s the ACC. He’d be facing some of the best basketball talent in the country, many of which he coached against while some of those schools played in the Big East.

I get that Marquette fans are upset. I’m sad to see Buzz go. He was a special member of the community for seven years, six as head coach and not just Milwaukee noticed. His story of “Buzz’s Bunch” was shared by media nationwide, even when his Golden Eagles didn’t earn a spot in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. I have every confidence that Marquette will hire credible professionals to replace its basketball coach, president and athletic director, for which interims now occupy.

There are parallels between Charles and Williams. Each man left his job voluntarily. Dynamics in their lives changed, whether personally or professionally, and each wanted change and new challenges.

Will some “Good Wife” fans cruelly criticize Charles’ decision to leave the show? Probably. People who know little about the individuals who hold these jobs are often quick to disparage via social media. That, unfortunately, is the nasty part of being able to post, often anonymously, on the Internet. Should he be criticized for making choices for his own life? No. Should Williams? No. Let’s wish both well, period. Let’s support our favorite teams/shows, look forward to said individuals’ next gigs – or not – but realize that it’s counterproductive to hold grudges and especially, exhibit frustration with vile language on social media or yell to talk radio hosts about people we really don’t know. We are all entitled to our opinions and feelings, but I’d say, at least for myself, I have enough to worry about without letting something others do with their lives to lead me to lose sleep. (Wait — Will is really DEAD??!)

So good luck Coach Williams and Josh Charles. I wish you both well. I will miss, but continue to enjoy Marquette basketball and “The Good Wife” without each of you in your former roles. It’ll be tough, but we’ll move on.


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