This age we live in is wonderful in many ways; but it’s got it’s pros and cons.
A specific example is boards like this (and every team has them). Coaches have been hired, fired and/or left on their own for decades. Back in the day, we’d just get a story in the news paper one day advising us of the change, have our cup of coffee, and go to work. We had no way to get “real time” information about what might be happening.
Today, we do. And while that does enable the facilitation and distribution of valid news in a way we never had before, it also is like cocaine for millions of junkies who didn’t even know they had a habit until 15 years ago (when these boards popped up).
I get that this search has not appeared to have gone as planned. But whose to say that, for example, the search for Eddie Sutton or Nolan went “as planned”? Maybe someone (or 2 or 3 someones) told us “no” before we hired those guys - we were just blissfully unaware of it.
I also think the value of a “name” coach is way, WAY overblown most times. It’s kind of like recruiting…fans love to puff their chest and boast about how their school signed Billy Five-Star and your school didn’t. In the same way, having a “Name” coach temporarily makes Joe Alumni feel “better” than his buddy who went to a rival school. But “Name” coaches don’t always perform the best, just like 5 stars don’t always make All American football players, and first round draft picks end up as busts.
After the PC announcing the new coach, what REALLY matters is how he relates to and commands respect from the players (and the staff he assembles) on a day-to-day basis. How organized he is both in leading the team and in recruiting, how effective he is as a recruiter, etc. Look at Jimbo at A&M…BIG name, but he’s also under BIG pressure to win BIG, and so far he has not. On the other hand, who knew who Dabo Swinney was when Clemson hired him?
I’m not a Pollyanna…I know our football program is at a critical juncture. But I’m also just not convinced that we HAVE to have a BIG NAME coach come in or else we’re doomed. I’m just not. It’s about getting the RIGHT coach.
Morris was not. He COULD recruit, and that’s very important. But he failed at the rest. I remember meeting him for the first time at the Greater Dallas Razorback Club Spring Rally in 2018, shortly after he was hired. During the mixer, prior to his speech, I found myself standing next to him and we had a brief private conversation in which I offered him support and wished him well, etc. I left that conversation with grave reservations, however. Oh, he was a very nice fellow…he just had no charisma - no “it” factor that would inspire young football players to perform for him, IMO. I’ve met many of our past coaches, and even the lesser successful ones had that quality of commanding attention when they walked into the room. I didn’t get that, at all, from Chad. I had no choice but to hope I was wrong. However, I cannot say I’m surprised by the results of the last 2 years.
I was never for hiring Kiffin - I know many of you were. We’ll see how he does at Ole Miss. My personal feeling is that he’s an elite offensive mind/play-caller, but not a guy who will lead anyone to a National Championship (or, an SEC Championship). He’s a “Name” people know, but that cuts both ways. And there IS a risk factor with him that’s higher (based on what I know, which is admittedly not as much as someone actually hiring him should know) than I am comfortable with.
I was trying to come around on Kiffin, because I thought there was a good chance we would end up hiring him. And I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to anyone we hire, whether they were my preference, or not. But I will admit that I’m relieved we didn’t hire him. I may regret that in a few years - we’ll see. But right now, that’s the way I feel.
You guys can dismiss me as an old fool, or in whatever other manner you’d like to…but I still feel like something good is going to come out of this hire. I don’t think ANYONE is going to be able to effect a quick fix on our program - it’s going to take some time. And, as long as progress is being made, I believe our next coach will get that time.
I’m as anxious as anyone else to find out who it will be and start the process of moving forward. And I’m aware of how critical the time frame is with the new recruiting signing dates. But I think we’re going to be happy with our new coach, IF we don’t have unrealistic expectations for him and simply give him a chance.