A Successor Question

I know over the years, it has been Arkansas’ standard to hire coaches with previous head coaching experience, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, in reading about tOSU’s decision to hand the reigns of its program to an assistant, and then Oklahoma’s success with Lincoln Riley succeeding Stoops, I wonder if Arkansas would consider (and hopefully it’s a long time before it has to conduct another search) hiring in-house (given CCM becomes successful). Just a thought …

You should consider assistants. But it doesn’t always work out. Jack Crowe was promoted from being an assistant coach. If you have someone you think can do it, sure you should consider it. Dabo and Switzer are both examples of assistants who were promoted from within who won national championships. But there are a lot more times when it didn’t work. One of the best examples (or worst) of not promoting an assistant who might have been ready (or might not have been) is Jimmy Johnson.

Crowe had previous HC experience before we promoted him. Twelve years prior to taking over for Hatfield, and at the D-2 level, but he technically met the requirement for HC experience.

Forgive me for bringing baseball up in the football forum, but I was hoping Wes Johnson would stick around and take the reigns after DVH retires. Not that I want that to happen any time soon, but I am a big Wes Johnson fan. I hope he comes back one day.

I know we looked a Venables this past time; how closely, I don’t know, and he doesn’t really fit since he wasn’t already on staff. But it seems that OU hasn’t skipped a beat with Riley, and Dabo sure is a good example. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out (Matt Luke at Ole Miss may be one such instance; we’ll see). I can see some downside to it, but there does seem to be some upside in that there can be less upheaval in the program (change of system, player familiarity, etc.).

Chris Petersen and Chip Kelly are other examples of today’s great coaches who were promoted from within a system. Petersen was the offensive coordinator at Boise State before he became the head coach there. He is responsible the most for making that program what it is today. Kelly was the offensive coordinator at Oregon when he was promoted.

I was of the belief at the time that Arkansas was about to move on to Will Muschamp or Brent Venables in the 2007 search that eventually landed Bobby Petrino. Muschamp was the defensive coordinator at Texas at the time; Venables was the coordinator at Oklahoma.

I know it was a firm John Barnhill belief that you didn’t hire assistants as head coach but I have always been curious about what Oklahoma has done. They hired Lawrence “Biff” Jones in 1935 who had been head coach of Army and LSU before he came coach of Oklahoma. With the one year exception of Howard Snellenberger, 1995, (5-5-1) Oklahoma has not hired anyone with previous head coaching experience since. Doesn’t seem to have slowed them down much. Included are Wilkinson, Fairbanks, Switzer, Stoops and Riley.

I think it depends on the coordinator, if you have somebody like a Lincoln Riley or Chip Kelly who’s system is more or less the programs identity, you definitely give them serious consideration. Question is do we have someone on staff like that?