seems to me everyone is between a rock and a hard spot.
Start with Jeff Long, stadium construction to be completed by start of season next year i think, the debt service calculated to be paid by increased ticket and suite sales, SEC sharing revenue, donations, etc. Then you have the buyout, 5.9mm is what we are told but we don’t know if the foundation has any agreements with the coach. Then you have assistants to pay, some for only a short time but then both coordinators have multiple year contracts. There is expected loss in ticket and suite sales if he stays status quo, but who really knows until ticket and suite request forms go out for next years season. What does his buy out drop to next year? Fan base is unhappy to say the least. Would that expected or anticipated loss be greater than the cost of firing the coach and staff. Now add in the cost of hiring a new coach and staff. Because of the buyout will the new coach be limited on what he can spend on assistants? Then you have recruiting defections which will surely occur, a very early signing period, and a new coach with not enough time to put together a staff and recruit effectively. A setback to begin. A new break in or grace period for the new coach, no quick fix here at all. Lastly there will be numerous coaching changes in the SEC alone, lots of competition for both the up and comers and the established seasoned veteran coach. Will we have to get into a bidding war for a coach he might want, or because of economics be forced to take a huge chance of someone out of the blue, either a young or veteran coach? Don’t know the answer to that one but i am pretty sure Long is looking at all the numbers and projections involved.
Coach B’s quandary. It is fairly apparent changes would have to be made on staff to if for nothing else to appease the fan base somewhat. As previously written and discussed what top name assistant coach wants to work for a possible dead man walking situation. I am certain every assistant coach knows the perils of his profession, and that each wants to find as much stability as possible, even though little stability exists unless you work for a top winning program, which we are not. Then next quandary is recruiting. We all know recruits are being told there is little stability in the Arkansas situation. Recruiting becomes much more difficult. looks to me recruiting will suffer either way for the short term. Will he have to change his philosophy to appease fans? Last time that occurred it didn’t work out so well. the Nutt/Malzhan situation sort of.
The fan base. Stay with what we’ve got with staff changes, hopefully hold onto recruits we have already committed, get a change somewhat in philosophy once again to appease the fan base, and hope next year will be better, which is a possibility. Key injuries have doomed this team, but is not the only reason we are where we are record wise. Or hire a new coach. One possibility is to get a young and upcoming gunslinger, spread offense, little to no defense (we’ve got that already) and hope for the best. a complete change in Arkansas football. Or hire an established coach, but not a top notch one because funds might be limited, hard place to recruit to we are told, seems like we are going down this road right now. Another two to three years of futility (the grace period) and an antsy, tired of being mediocre fan base. Also lets not leave out Longs tenure here. If he keeps status quo can he convince fan base to hold firm, but what new coach wants to come here with a possible, even if remote possibility the athletic director might leave to greener or calmer pastures. And who is to say the new coach can recruit/evaluate well enough to produce a consistent winner. I am not talking championships here, just a competitive team that is a consistent winner. side note: my have our expectations changed over the last 6 years, depressing.
Tough decision, but that is why Long makes the big bucks, if it is Long’s decision solely. We don’t know who is directing who up there. But a very tough decision looming. Of course win the next three, which no-one expects and save face and his job is a possibility. We will find that out soon enough.