A change is gonna come.

As thrilled as I am to see Charlie Strong leave the SEC, I have no idea whether he’ll succeed as a head coach at Louisville.  But then again, the latter is a sentiment I’ve felt many times before (including the case of Strong’s predecessor, for that matter).  What I find most refreshing about this hire isn’t that it tugs at your heartstrings, but that the vast majority of the Internet chatter I’ve read over the past day or so in reaction to it has been over whether or not Strong has the coaching chops to succeed at his new gig.  Agree or disagree, it’s been about the man’s resume and his abilities, which is how it should be.

Similarly, it’s good to see news like this (even coming from Dienhart, a notorious rumor monger when it comes to coaching changes):

Cincinnati, seeking a new head coach in the wake of Brian Kelly’s departure for Notre Dame, has asked for permission to talk to Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, Rivals.com has learned.

Sumlin just finished his second year at Houston, leading the Cougars to the C-USA West title and league title game this season. Sumlin was named 2009 C-USA Coach of the Year and has an 18-8 record with two bowl appearances.

Sumlin is the kind of guy who should be a hot prospect to move up the food chain in the D-1 coaching ranks.  That he’s being mentioned in this setting without any racial subtext (forget about whether that’s justified or not for the moment) makes me think that maybe college football is starting to get its act together without the heavy hand of government interference giving a shove (hear that, Oregon?).  I can’t see how that’s anything but good.

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “A change is gonna come.

  1. Joe B.

    Look, I know that everyone wants to make Strong’s career out as some sort of racist plot by the evil AD’s across the universe.

    Then you read these quotes from the Gainesville Sun following the SECCG:

    “I have not spoken to them,” Strong said briefly following the game when asked about Louisville.

    When Strong was asked if his agent had spoken to Louisville, he replied: “I don’t have an agent.”

    http://www.gainesville.com/article/20091205/articles/912059896

    Kind of makes you wonder if Strong has simply mismanaged his entire career?

    • Bulldog Bry

      I wish these coaches would just say ‘no comment’. I don’t understand how that’s so hard. Sure, “no comment” will fuel speculation, but isn’t that the case already?

      • mike

        I’m not sure why everyone expects coaches to be honest with the media and the public about leaving their jobs. Let’s say Mr Third and Long says “No Comment” or yes, I am talking to Louisville and then doesn’t get the job. Corch tells the press how happy and committed he is to Charlie and then starts the search for a new DC to replace him because he’s leaving anyway at some point. Suddenly, Charlie’s out. Same thing would happen at your job. What would you do if you were interviewing with another company and one of your co-workers or someone in the press asked you if you were looking? Would you say “No” or “No Comment”?

  2. Joe B.

    Oh, and is going from Houston to Cincinnati really “moving up the food chain”?

    Seems a lateral move, at best.

    Yes, the Big East has a BCS birth, but Kelly was a one-time fluke guy who made Cincy relevant.

    Sumlin would be better served to keep doing his thing at Houston until a big school comes calling. The idea that Cincinnati is a plum job is beyond hilarious.

  3. Todd

    Strong’s deal was not that he was black, but black with a white wife. I heard that was the deal even when he was at S.C. with Holtz.

  4. Macallanlover

    There is nothing overplayed more in America than the “race card”. Whether it is business, or CFB, decision makers want winners that bring in more money and win in the marketplace. And they will hire you immediately of you can do so. Period. It doesn’t matter if you are blue, red, black, or yellow, or paisley. The only requirement is succeeding within the framework of the rules/laws.

    All this chatter about racism is just that, PC grumbling. If D1 Presidents and ADs felt Charlie Strong could have a positive change on the Ws, raising money from boosters, exciting the fanbase, and projecting a good image when speaking to the media as he represents the university, he would have gotten a HC job long before now. People who think otherwise are seriously underestimating the greed these folks have for being recognized as successful managers/administrators. Everyone wants to hire the coach that changes the fortunes of the school.

    Charlie Strong may become a great HC at Lousiville, or could fall completely on his face. The skill set for being a head coach is much deeper than that of a coordinator, and none of us know how well he measures up when put under a microscope. Perhaps CS doesn’t interview well, or use correct grammar, or spits like Lou Holtz, or doesn’t work well with others, lacks vision, cannot multi-task, has a drug issue, or a criminal background, or any number of hundreds of other factors which may be a knockout for the decision maker that does not include race. I can tell you it is more likely the opposite is true, most mangers froth at the mouth to find a qualified black people to fill key roles in their organization, and being highly visible is a bonus.

    • Hackerdog

      I’m not so sure Macallanlover. You know how notorious universities are for being socially backward-thinking. Why, next you’ll be telling me that girls should be allowed to wear slacks to class.

      • Macallanlover

        To be honest Hacker, I went to school during the 60’s and early 70’s so micro-mini skirts made an indelible impression on me. I will admit, before having daughters, I would NEVER have voted to allow slacks for females in the class room!

    • The problem with your analysis is that on the college level the head coaching decision isn’t completely controlled by a “manager”, i.e., the AD.

      If you talk to people who are familiar with the hiring process for head coaches on both the D-1 college level and the pro level, they’ll tell you that the biggest difference – by far – is the need to placate big boosters of college programs. Based on my experience with people like that, let’s just say that they don’t always share your enlightened attitude about hiring (or even talking to) qualified minority applicants.

      • Joe B.

        Did any of you read Strong’s quote that I posted above?

        Strong was quoted after the SECCG as saying that he did not have an agent.

        That is simply poor career management, and would explain a lot about why he has been so poorly paid at UF and has not gotten an HC job until now.

          • Joe B.

            Well good, thanks for clarifying that.

            Obviously, it has been a racist plot by the AD’s of America then ;)

            • I don’t think it’s the ADs fault, by and large (particularly in this day and age). I lot of them run into no problems at all hiring minority coaches for their basketball programs. But then, they’ve usually got a different constituency to please in those cases.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            So, Charlie Strong lied twice, once when he said he had not spoken to L’ville and the second time when he said he didn’t have an agent. He’s acting like a head coach already. Whatever respect I had for him is already starting to disappear.

      • Macallanlover

        You may find this to be “splitting hairs”, but I said in my mandatory qualifications the applicant had to be able to “bring in more money”. From a long ago email I said to you this was a problem for CCS as judged by many ADs. Doesn’t mean many wouldn’t want to hire him, only that they weighted this into the decision and felt that shortcoming dropped his “total score” below others. Same would be true if Oregon brought in someone who would alienate Phil Knight (someone who felt all clothing/tennis shoes should be made with American labor), or TN was considering a candidate who was outspoken against the use of fossil fuels and offended Haslan of Pilot Oil, or Cal was considering an opponent of global warming that grew up in Texas which would probably cause the entire faculty and alumni groups to resign or protest, etc., etc. Anyone who would likely have a negative impact on fundraising is probably not your best candidate. Charlie Strong was judged to be lacking at Alabama, Auburn, TN, and Miss State, and I probably would have made that choice as well. He seems to be a solid candidate, but not the only one available, and the others may well have been better choices….ALL things considered.

        I feel we will see more and more minority coaches in CFB with more of them holding coordinator positions and getting favorable publicity. The idea of “only a Michigan man” for UM, or “only a Catholic for ND”, or “only a Bear Bryant disciple for Alabama” is, or has, faded as well.

        There is nothing wrong with making a decision based on the totality of all factors. We all do what is best for our business in making decisions, and we all impact our market potential with decisions we made a long time ago. It could be interracial marriage for CCS, it could be smoking for others, becoming obese for some, or not taking English classes seriously for a few. I remember a company that took applicants and their spouses for dinner before hiring them to see how they were socially and what their manners were like. You never know which detail cost you a job in the interview.

        • Aligator

          how does bob stoops end up at oklahoma after a couple of years as a DC and Strong consistently led top defenses and could not get a decent D1 job. he will not be a good head coach, that’s why, not because of his color.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Also, there is the perception of the interview. I know a guy who interviewed for a job and told me that he was going to get it because he had wowed them at the interview. The guy did not get the job. I knew one of the management guys who participated in the interview and asked him about it. He told me that my friend did not get the job because the interview went so badly. I’m with Macallanlover on this. You get hired in the USA because the folks doing the hiring think you will be successful and make them a lot of dough–no other reason. If they don’t believe that, or if they think someone else will be more successful, you don’t get the job. Botton line–it’s all about money.

          • So are you saying that most minority candidates for football head coaching jobs are bad at interviewing? Because, Strong aside, the overall numbers have been pretty weak.

            That theory also doesn’t explain how up until recently, most minority candidates couldn’t even get interviews to perform badly in.

            I’m not suggesting that it’s about racism in every case, but I don’t see how you can completely deny that there’s any impact at all from it.

  5. Ty Webb

    I assume from the context here, but don’t know for certain, that Sumlin is black. I don’t know why anybody would care one way or the other.