and I'm still in shock. When I first saw something about this on AZZ.com, I figured it was a hoax of some kind. A coaching change is about the last thing I thought would happen. It is 100% out of character for BGSU. We let Gary Blackney linger until the end of his contract, and did the same with Dan Dakich. And just last year, Coach Brandon was given a three-year extension.
I am never somebody who roots for coaches to get fired. In fact, dig through my posts here, I thought Dakich could have done something with one more year. I know, that decision had to be made, but it just underscores how I am the last one to give up on coaches.
And, while I hope this is good for our program, its kind of sad. I feel badly for Coach Brandon--the man has lost his job. And I feel really badly for his assistants, who do not have buy-outs and will likely be moving again. (Just think about being forced to sell a house fast in this environment.) What a life.
I think that it took some guts for Greg Christopher to do this, and he deserves credit for that, if it works. A year after an extension, with an .500 season, the safest route would be to keep Brandon one more year. I applaud his focus on the off-field things---Bowling Green must have a program we can be proud of.
I do think, however, that he was a little disingenuous about the role losing played. If Brandon had made the MAC Championship, there is no way he doesn't coach us in 2009. But, I do get what he's saying...if he's .500 and no academic and legal troubles, maybe he stays.
What happened? A lot of people are pointing back to that December day in 2003 when, in the tumult following Meyer's sudden and wrenching departure to Utah, a group of players went to see Paul Krebs and requested/demanded that Brandon be made the coach. There was the veiled threat of transfers, etc. And Krebs went along.
To be fair, many in the Nation were dubious at that moment, as the school (which had still not even won a division title) seemed a little self-congratulatory at the state of the program.
At the time, I recall favoring an outside candidate. (And, its worth noting that the same year, when the two best coaches in the MAC, Meyer and Hoeppner both left, their assistants were both promoted and lost their jobs on the same day).
But, riding on the wave of the huge talent influx, Brandon seemed at first to be a good coach. And, as long as he had all those great players and the residual discipline and leadership, he was very good for his first two years.
However, as the Meyer players filtered out of the system, the record returned to about .500 for the past four years. And that's a truer test. However, in two of those four years, we had chances to win our division with teams that had way underachieved, including this year. So, I don't believe recruiting football players was the problem. I just think our staff didn't get the most out of the talent they had.
He got an extension after making a bowl game last year, and I thought he deserved it.
I also think its clear that we made a lot of compromises on football players, in terms of the character and their ability to graduate at BGSU. This is a tricky area. I'm all for second chances. But, I don't think Bowling Green is going to tolerate large amounts of arrests (and we're not talking disorderly conduct or public urination), and the academic stuff is troubling, too. I think we probably brought in some guys for whom we were their only option, and that's because other schools figured they weren't worth the risk.
So, for all those reasons, I think it is fair to say the program had stalled, and needed to be started up again. I wish Coach Brandon and his staff well.
Now, what's next?
The Blade had a list of guys Ryan thought of off the top of his head...you can check it out.
There are a bunch of considerations here.
- Do you go for an assistant at a bigger school? (Our normal route).
- Do you try to find the next Brian Kelly in I-AA?
- Do you go the Louis Orr model and find a good coach who is looking to restart his career?
- Also, what do you do about the style of play? Do you look for someone who wants to run this offense, or at least elements of it? (Local fans will be very concerned about wholesale style changing after the year Rich Rodriguez had).
- If the money was found privately to buy Brandon out, then I can only assume that money can be found to up the pay a little.
- Is this an attractive job? Would someone choose us over Miami if they were offered both?
If I had to guess, it will be someone who is not on anyone's initial radar. While some people may agitate for it, I don't see Studrawa or Beckman as head coaches. Obviously, I could be wrong. I do (always) think a guy from OSU is a good choice. That's a strong program with good fundamentals and someone would learn how to coach working for Tressel.
Most of all, we want somebody with something to prove...somebody with some ambition who wants to make a name for himself. I don't think in the MAC that we ever going to get a guy for 20 years. We should look to get someone who wants to win and build his career.
If someone does come in who was not connected to the program in the last eight years, that will cut all ties to the Meyer years here at Bowling Green. But today's move signals one thing...we're going to act more like bigger schools with our coaches, and we're not going to let a program go fallow while we wait out a contract. And, .500 with off-field issues is no longer good enough.