“The right place at the right time.”

Gus Malzahn apparently believes that his wife’s now infamous viral video (put out there by a ‘Bama fan, natch) cost him shots at the Kansas and North Carolina head coaching jobs.  Well, now.

Are there athletic directors out there dumb enough to let something like that influence a hiring decision?  Hey, in a world in which Jim Mora (Jr.?  Jim L.? Whatever.) can land a Pac-12 job, I wouldn’t underestimate that as a possibility, but I think Malzahn does a little underestimating of his own if he doesn’t think Auburn’s ranking in total offense falling from 7th nationally with Cam Newton to 104th without didn’t have an impact on his desirability.

But I’m also wondering if we’re nearing at least a temporary end to the age of the hot coordinator, at least in so far as them jumping to head coaching jobs in major conferences.  Look around the BCS conference landscape this last month or so:  head coaches or former head coaches with baggage (Leach), no institutional loyalty (Graham), no college experience to speak of (Mora), nothing more than a short stay at a mid-major school (Freeze, Sumlin) and other warts (Weis) are the guys claiming the jobs ahead of the Malzahns of the college football world.  Has a single head coaching job at that level gone to an assistant yet?

Last year, Will Muschamp got the Florida gig.  This year, Kirby Smart is interviewing at Southern Miss.  Something’s going on.  Who knows how long it lasts?

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52 Comments

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52 responses to ““The right place at the right time.”

  1. Mike

    To your point, maybe he old addage that ‘it is easier to find a job when you have one’ might apply to the current practice in hiring head coaches. Previous experience as a head coach might count for far more, in the minds of ADs, than anything else.

    • Right now, I think that’s certainly the case. But it wasn’t too long ago. Just ask Jeremy Foley. ;)

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I would argue that Florida’s experience this season with Muschamp at the helm may be one of the major factors in the attitudinal change by ADs you have pointed out, Senator.

      • Keese

        “Are there athletic directors out there dumb enough to let something like that influence a hiring decision?”

        Sure…so AD’s should have no problem with coaches that have a motor mouth wife that publicly humiliates and emasculates her husband and speaks embarrasingly about the school and players?

  2. Scott W.

    Easier to point to reasons outside your control for the lack of upward mobility rather than realizing you’re a HS that struck gold once. Everyone that fails had help.

    • Scott W.

      *HS coach

    • Biggus Rickus

      While Auburn’s offense was dismal this year, it’s not like he was never successful without Newton. He had them 16th in the nation while improving their yards per game by over a hundred with Chris Todd at QB.

      • Scott W.

        It was actually 17th and Paul Johnson had the Jackets at 14th in the nation with Josh Nesbitt at QB that same year. So is that really an indicator of true success?

        • Biggus Rickus

          It was 17th in scoring. I was using yards. More to the point, yes, if you finish in the top twenty nationally offensively I’d say you were successful. As would anyone who doesn’t want to argue for the sake of argument or because they don’t like the teams being coached by them.

          • Scott W.

            First of all you didn’t qualify your argument in the first place, secondly, I was just responding in kind to the point you were trying to make, thirdly, the reason Tech was used is that Nesbitt is a comparable QB to Todd in that they enjoyed mild success in college, fourthly, I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed to respond to you and wasn’t doing so just for the sake of argument, fifthly, no I don’t like either of those teams.

            • Biggus Rickus

              I didn’t say you couldn’t respond. I just thought your response was…odd. By what standard do you consider an offensive coordinator successful if not by use of statistics?

              • Scott W.

                The use of stats is fine but I would say a sustained period of success rather than a tall peak followed by an abysmal low would be ideal. Also stats can obscure the true nature of the team in question is what I was getting at.

                • Biggus Rickus

                  Both Malzahn and Johnson have demonstrated sustained levels of success as offensive coordinators. Johnson, of course, has to be judged by a different standard since he’s also the head coach. Tech’s defensive woes fall on his shoulders ultimately. Malzahn, however, has had two unsuccessful seasons as an offensive coordinator at the college level: his first and his most recent. The first was a cluster because Nutt wouldn’t let him do what he wanted to do. The most recent could be looked at a few ways perhaps, but given his track record at Tulsa and Auburn prior to this season, I tend to lean towards a decisive lack of talent and/or an overabundance of youth.

                  • Scott W.

                    I get your point but at Ark State he will most likely be saddled with a lack of talent. Plus when your team is devoid of talent and you’re a supposed to be a top notch recruiter who’s fault is that?

  3. stoopnagle

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous to suspect (or appreciate) that Malzahn’s wife gabbiness would turn ADs and presidents off to Malzahn. Beyond someone who can coach and win games, many schools need coaches who can keep alums and boosters happy beyond the winning and losing. Nobody wants extra scrutiny or public embarrassment. I can see a risk-averse president or newly installed AD (especially at a place like UNC where everyone is dealing with a lot of NCAA fallout) would look at the video and think “if she knew intimate details of what happened here in the past three years, would you trust her to not talk about it?” Um, resounding no?)

    So, I don’t think it’s that ridiculous. Especially paired with AU’s offensive performance in ’11. Although, Gus’s offensive output at other stops (namely, Tulsa) are pretty impressive. If I were the AD at ASU (and I could do a better job of it than Lisa Love), I would have hired him mouthy wife and all.

    • Normaltown Mike

      The only counter factual I would argue is that UNC and Kansas don’t really care that much for football.

      If Georgia, Auburn or Alabama had a B-Ball coach with an annoying wife, would fans care?

    • Russ

      I agree, Stoop. People tend to underestimate the PR aspect of college coaching, especially at the larger schools with big money alums that need stroking. Having a coach with a loose cannon for a wife is too risky when the coach isn’t a slam dunk to be a success.

      One only needs to look at how long it took Charlie Strong to get a HC job when everyone knew he was a great candidate. Apparently his choice of wife was a problem for some schools, though of course no one would come out and say it.

  4. Aside from Kirby, who are the hot assistants? Chavis won the Broyles, but he is no head coach, nor is Grantham. All the offensive geniuses got jobs over the past couple of years. If Sonny Dykes keeps winning at LaTech, then he might get promoted to Tennessee, but as far as coordinators go… I’m not sure there is anybody left but retreads.

  5. Babyfarts McGeezax

    I’ve heard from a VERY good source at UNC that Gus was never a candidate and this was all Jimmy Sexton, which frankly, would make a lot more sense

  6. Ben

    If you look around at the most recent BCS title winners, all of them had previous experience as a head coach. Overall, only three of them have been won by coaches who came to their position by way of a coordinator spot (Fulmer, Stoops, and Coker).

    One thing we’ve seen with Richt, imo, is that he’s had to learn all about being a head coach for the first time, and he’s had to do it under three different ADs who have all had three different ways of managing the department.

    Hiring a coordinator and expecting him to have success (no matter how successful he was as an assistant) might not always work out. That’s one reason I’ve been hesitant about the idea of Kirby Smart this whole time…

    • Biggus Rickus

      Hiring anyone might not work out. Your best bet seems to be hiring someone who acheived success at a middling major conference program or extreme success in a decent mid-major conference, but that’s only an option for huge money schools.

      • Macallanlover

        That is my thinking too. !t is an entirely different skills set when you are the Top Gun. While many coordinators have been successful in making the jump, if I am an AD it would be more comforting to know the candidate has been able to manage the total program. We have seen a spectacular failure with our own BVG in this regard, and I suspect Boom may have similar issues given his lack of maturity. It may be our best chance to keep TCG until an NFL team out bids us for a coordinator position.

      • Mike

        Rickus writes

        “…or extreme success in a decent mid-major conference, but that’s only an option for huge money schools.”

        to which Ubran Meyer replies;

        “Hi!”

  7. Skeeter

    This could be a really smart, long-term move. Here’s a place he can get experience being an HC with room to move up or back to OC. I would certainly take a pay cut to get out of Auburn or not be at Vandy.

    And while the wife vid was wacky, it is that much crazier than stuff that Barbara Dooley has said? Although, I think she does it for laughs and is much more clever about it all.

    • Dawgfan Will

      Yep. There’s a big difference between the “crazy Southern lady” vibe Barbara Dooley has and the “just plain ol’ crazy” vibe Kristi Malzahn has. (For one, Babs would probably cut Vince if he told her to shut up.)

    • Gravidy

      I hear what you’re saying, but there’s a really large difference between the offer he supposedly got from Vandy and what he got at Arky State – namely, over $2M per year.

      Maybe Gus thought he’d get a similar offer from a better school than Vandy, or maybe he didn’t wan’t to coach at Vandy for any amount of money. But in the cold light of hindsight, I find it difficult to believe he isn’t kicking himself for not taking the Vandy offer.

    • Russ

      The big difference between Barbara and Kristi is the internet. Barbara could be crazy and it would be “our” little secret. If Kristi says something crazy (and she will), it’s guaranteed to be on the internet within the hour.

    • Russ

      I do think that it may be easier for Malzahn to move from Arky St. to a BCS school if he’s successful, than it would be for him to move from Vandy. But I don’t think Gus is that smart, strategically, to turn down $3M for $850k to ensure his long term future.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Petrino’s track record is that he doesn’t stay anywhere for very long. I can see Malzahn doing a good job at Arkansas State and when the Arkansas job opens up, and it will, sliding over to Fayetteville pretty seamlessly. Plus, that state is home for him. Even though this is not how he may have scripted things a year ago it just might work out perfectly for him.

  8. Derek

    Should make for an interesting Christmas at the malzahn’s house. The missus needs to understand that trying to replicate Barbara Dooley is fraught with danger and it helps to first be charming and witty.

    With respect to assistants moving into head jobs is very situation specific. What are the fan base’s expectations? What does your roster look like etc… can all play into who wins and who doesn’t. CMR had addition by subtraction with QC going to the NFL and a damn good roster. Further, out expectations were minimal given what we had been through. At uf you had essentially the opposite. High expectations with little basis to believe it to be possible. In the end success or failure of a coach is near impossible to fairly consider in times of immediate gratification. The lucky are perceived geniuses while the unfortunate are fools.

    • HVL Dawg

      The general public didn’t really know Barbara Dooley was wacky until a couple years after Vince had his 15 minutes with Herschel.

      Back then we got 100% of our UGA news from Larry Munson, Loren whathaveyougot, Lewis Grizzard, Furman Bisher, Phil Hartman and the Vince Dooley Show. Nobody on that list was gave Babs a microphone.

  9. AusDawg85

    Dawgvent post coming to a blog near you soon….No one wants ANY of our coaches! They are terrible! FIREEVERYONE!!1!!

  10. Comin' Down The Track

    I feel like parents is, at least, part of the truth, but honestly this wouldn’t be the first time that hubris cost a guy some samolians… followed by him blaming the next nearest reason, i.e. crazy spouse.

  11. Dog in Fla

    “Last year, Will Muschamp got the Florida gig.”

    and Todd’s friend got a job, too

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/terrapins-insider/2010/12/if_gus_malzahn_declines_offer.html

  12. The General

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t the Kristi vid not only showed she is nutty but also hinted that she was actively involved in recruiting? That shit ain’t kosher, is it? It would make sense to me that UNC would particularly shy away given the thin NCAA ice they are skating. I’m a dawg who married into a Tar Heel family and now live in Chapel Hill, and I can say folks here are now and will end up being much happier with Fedora than they would have been with Malzahn, regardless of the wife’s blabbermouth.

  13. AthensHomerDawg

    just sayin’

  14. Bard Parker

    Gus needed to be a HC at a place like Arky State. Show he can hire a staff, gladhand the boosters and alums, and handle the other administrivia associated with the job.
    That being said, he should have taken the Vandy job.
    Kirby needs to show he can succeed without the Armani Bear, I don’t think many AQ schools are going to give him that chance.
    Muschamp has probably killed of the hot coordinator buzz for awhile

  15. AthensHomerDawg

    Worth a second go………

  16. Biggus Rickus

    Am I alone in thinking the internet has totally overreacted to the Kristi Malzahn thing? It only struck me as mildly embarrassing, as nothing she said was really all that bad. It was just a stupid lady stating stupid opinions. It happens all the time, but somehow, because she’s a coach’s wife and it became public it is some sort of scandal? I don’t get it.