Thursday, December 06, 2012

Don't Fall in Love With Your Coach

So, the MAC season ended and it hadn't been one week and both coaches who were in the championship game are now leaving for greener pastures.  There's a chance Pete Lembo could also go, and who knows after that...if UC opens up, could that create a chance for someone else to move up.  Could happen.

I'm sure that the fans in DeKalb and especially Kent are disappointed.  This is a very coach-dependent league and when you get the guy who has the magic, you'd like to think he might do a five-year apprenticeship before he moves up, not a 2-year (in the case of Hazell).

In no way am I blaming any coach for leaving.  People leave their current jobs for better jobs every day...I've done, you've done it, why shouldn't they do it?  The only coach in America who had to stay, in my view, was Bill O'Brien, who sold all those kids who could have transferred on staying last year.  He kind of has a moral obligation.

If you're going to follow MAC football, you have to get used to this.  There's a simple truth....there are only two kinds of coaches in the MAC...coaches that other people want and coaches you can't wait to get rid of. There's no middle ground.

It is part of the challenge of winning in this conference.  You have to be able to sustain success across coaches.  NIU has done it---Novak, Kill, isn't enough to hire one good coach, you have to be able to continue to hire them.

A couple of observations.  One thing NIU did well was resist the urge to hire internally (until Doeren's departure).  It seems to me that internal replacements have a higher fail rate than external replacements.

Second, you need to hire a coach who either subscribes to your current system or who is adaptable enough to coach under.  You can't have a guy retool the entire team to some odd system and then leave after two years.  The key is continuity, and you need a coach who can work with what is there instead of one who thinks he has to replace every player on the roster.

The ultimate lesson.  Don't fall in love with your coach...or at least be prepared to let go.  There is no track record of quality coaches staying in the MAC for the long term in the last 20 years.  That quality coach wants better things for his career and for his family, and if he earns the shot, you just have to wish him godspeed.

One last thing.  I think the NCAA should do what baseball does during the World Series, which is to ban all personnel moves and announcements.  I think that there should be no Coaching hires made from the end of the regular season until bowl season ends.  To me, you have a bunch of players who have worked their ass off and then they get to the bowl game they have always dreamed of and literally half the staff takes off before it happens.

To make things fair, you could extend the recruiting dead period through the month.  Of course, this has no chance of happening, but I think its very unfair to the players.  (I understand Hazell will coach Kent in their bowl game.  Urban did that at Utah, too.  It can and should be more commonly done as well.)

Anyway, in a perfect world we'd have good coaches we liked and we'd keep them for 20 years. The coaches are as fickle as we are, though.  We have to know it going in.

No comments :