It is about time that a major college football program put its proverbial foot down on the madness that is the coaching search. Really, this whole coaching carousal has been out of control for years.
For those of you who missed it, Boston College told Head Coach Jeff Jagodzinski he will be fired if he interviews for the head coaching vacancy with the New York Jets.
Bravo, Boston College and Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo, bravo! Cracker once sang that they did not know what the world needed. Well, I know that the college football world needs: more ADs like DeFlilippo and schools like BC that will not allow the head coach (or any other coach for that matter) to twist them in the wind by interviewing for open positions while still under contract. This also sends a message to agents of college football coaches – do not leverage your guy’s success as a cheap way to get a raise.
I am not going to compare the job college football coaches do to the “real world” because most of “us” in the “real world” could not do and put up with the stuff college football coaches do. However, every off-season (or not even the off-season if you are Bobby Petrino), college football fans are treated to this game of will he stay or will he go with the head coach or the hot coordinator.
Previously, the trend was to “name” a coordinator “head coach in waiting” (see Jimbo Fisher at Florida State or Will Muschamp at Texas). This was the appeasement phase. Throw money and the idea of a future move up at a coach and that will scare away most of the vulture programs. It was also the wrong thing to do because it is all just lip service. What happens if Texas tanks out the next few seasons and Mack Brown is fired? Does Muschamp move up? What if Texas hires a new AD who did not make that deal and reverses the deal? All the coach-in-waiting stuff means is if another school is going to hire the CIW, that school will owe original school a lot of money. Sounds a lot like some MLB trades where a player is traded to Los Angeles but Milwaukee is paying his salary. It does not work either. Both Fisher and Muschamp’s names were reported as candidates for off-season openings. So, this appeasement tactic has not and will not work.
Enter in Boston College who takes the proactive, strong, ballsy approach by threatening to fire the coach if he interviews with the courting NFL team. That takes gusto rarely displayed in the modern day of college football. It also re-establishes the role of the institution. For too long, the coaches have held the power position in the athletic department. Some of that is justifiable. College football programs bring in the bulk of the revenue to fund an athletic department. However, as big a business college football may be, it is still “amateur” athletics. Therefore, the institution must take a bigger role and assert its power when it comes to hiring and recruitment of its coaches.
People (and you know who you are) will say people only want to hire the coach who is a winner and if a school employs a winner, the school can expect to see the coach hired away in the future. While some of that is true, to major-conference, Division I-A (FBS) schools should live in fear of the coach bolting at the end of every season. It is one thing for head coaches to move up from the lower divisions or from a non-BCS conference to a BCS conference (even that is a little shady in my opinion). It is an entirely different thing for the head coach to flirt with other jobs in college football or the NFL.
While I am there, let me address this whole thing about the college coaches jumping to the NFL. There is very little evidence in the last 25 years of that being a good move for either side. Jimmy Johnson is a notable exception. Barry Switzer just tried to manage the talent and most know that Troy Aikman was as much of a coach during his Super Bowl run as Switzer was. Butch Davis, Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban all either failed miserably at the HC position in the NFL or bailed because it was not the best fit for what they like to do. In college, it is about recruiting and developing young men. In the NFL, it is about scheme and management and plugging in the pieces. It is a very different game altogether. People say the NFL draft is just like recruiting. Not even close. In college recruiting, coaches must convince a player to come to the school based on a number of factors. In the draft, talent is chosen (sometimes poorly – the Lions for the last several years) and often the head coach does not have final (or any) say in the draft. It is just a different skill set. Look at Pete Carroll. He was a mediocre NFL head coach. At Southern California, he is a juggernaut and considered a genius. It is just a different skill set.
At the time this was written, Jagodzinski was still considering taking the Jets interview. If he does and is not hired, Boston College will be on the clock to see how serious that warning really was in the first place. At any rate, more schools should follow suit and re-assert their power in the process of the coaching search.Powered by Sidelines