Friday, December 08, 2006


The Alabama coaching search went from coup to disaster today when Coach Rich Rodriguez, apparently discovering his soul while checking the mailbox this morning, decided to stay with his alma mater and "never gonna leave as long as they'll have me" job at West Virginia.

So, just to review:
1. Steve Spurrier.
2. Nick Saban.
3. Rich Rodriguez.
4. ????

This doesn't include the four or five other coaches who, as soon as their name showed up on the same sports page as Alabama, almost immediately said, "I'm not interested."

It seems that, to honor the school's 12 national championships, Alabama is going to attempt to be rejected by an equal number of coaches.

Part of it, I honestly think, is the complete and total unwillingness of a vocal segment of the Crimson Tide fan base to tolerate anything other than 10 wins and SEC title contention every year. They don't seem to realize that, as good a coach as the Bear was, he had one crucial edge that current coaches don't have: As long as he had the money, he could offer the scholarships. Now, there are limits, which means fewer top-notch players for the Tide and more top-notch players for their opposition. Alabama will never enjoy the same success that the Bear enjoyed. No team in college football ever will.

But if your expectations for the coach's results are unreasonable, your expectations for a coach are also going to be unreasonable. So instead of trying to strike out and find a hidden coach at a mid-major or at the coordinator level, Alabama has tried to buy off other teams' coaches. They're not the only guilty party in this regard -- that would be you I'm talking about, N.C. State -- but they are the most brazen offenders, offering the most obscene amounts of money.

Miami, meanwhile, a program who might or might not have tried to lure either Spurrier or Rodriguez to the sidelines and did go after Greg Schiano, decided to give defensive coordinator Randy Shannon a shot. In addition to adding another African-American coach to the NCAA Division I-A ranks, with the total now standing at six, it gives the program some continuity. But how Miami passed up Bernie Kosar, I'll never know.

To an extent, as an Auburn and SEC fan, I want Bama to come back at least a little. It's no fun when the villian isn't any good; nobody hated the Yankees in 1980s because they were just bad.

At least they had Don Mattingly.

One intelligent suggestion I saw on Bama message boards, whom the Tide faithful would probably never accept, was Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill. The school could remove the Croom whispers by giving Florida DC Charlie Strong a look. Larry Coker's a decent guy that might be able to put something together in Tuscaloosa, as long as he wasn't allowed to recruit his own quarterbacks.

But there's also a current head coach with SEC experience who might be willing to leave his job up Nawth...

Alabama head coach; that has a nice ring to it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bama may be having problems based upon its history with NCAA violations and a concern about whether there may be more NCAA problems to deal with. Published reports say that Rodriguez was seen talking with Dennis Franchione in N.Y. on the day he interviewed for the Alabama job. It would be interesting to know what Franchione told him. Whoever is next approaced about coaching at Alabama may want to ask the AD to provide, in writing, assurance that there are no unknown NCAA violations. Alabama is still on probation, and some say Dennis Franchione claims he was misled about Alabama's NCAA problems. I'm not saying there have been NCAA violations, but if I were a prospective coach I would want written assurances that no NCAA regs were violated (or the NCAA statute of limitations had run or the NCAA had cleared Alabama of any potential charges) when:
1. An athlete with rumored grade problems was taken to the Cotton Bowl with the team, but held out of the game last year for an unidentified "suspension." If the athlete, who is set to return next season, was academically ineligible, I would want written assurance that the athlete is eligible to participate next season under NCAA regs;
2. Courses were taken as discussed in a recent Birmingham News article (classes scheduled only on Saturdays when players knew they couldn't attend class because of games);
3. A starting defensive player last summer was arrested driving a car with a stolen gun and marijuana. Charges basically went away after the player pled guilty in drug court. Player was represented by a lawyer from a law firm that was involved in helping a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the NCAA by former Alabama recruiting director Ronnie Cottrell and Assistant Coach Ivy Williams. Paul Finebaum, a radio talk host in Birmingham, said the player was driving a car owened by a wealthy booster (whose daughter was alllegedly in the car). Don't know whether the player paid for his lawyer or not, but NCAA regs are pretty specific. See the following NCAA interpretation posted on the U of Louisville website at :
"Pro bono legal services provided to student-athletes

Date Issued: Jun 27, 1990
Type: Staff
Item Ref: a


a. Pro Bono Legal Services Provided to Student-Athletes: Reviewed Bylaw 16.02.3 (extra benefit) and Bylaw 12.1.2 (amateurism -- forms of pay) in regard to an outside agency that wishes to provide pro bono legal services to a student-athlete, determined that such an arrangement would not be precluded provided the agency has provided this type of service in the past to other needy individuals (based upon nonathletics objective criteria), and the student-athlete initiates the contact with the agency." and,
4. A member of the Board of Trustees has been reportedly running a rogue, back-door effort to hire Nick Saban.

8:30 PM


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