Stewart Mandel believes he’s stumbled on to college football’s latest sin: ageism.
Generally speaking, there’s only one thing a head coach must do to keep his job: win. But if the 2010-11 coaching carousel has taught us anything, it’s that some athletic directors are adding a caveat: win, and don’t be old.
As proof, he offers us the cases of Bill Stewart, 58, and Ralph Friedgen, 63. Both do have one thing in common, besides being over 55. They both led programs to winning records in less than strong conferences this season, but weren’t able to win the conference title outright (in WVU’s case) or play in the conference title game (Maryland) in a weak setting. Is that enough to justify canning them? That’s not for me to say, but if you’re an athletic director who thinks his football program should be able to play in the ACCCG or a BCS bowl, it’s certainly enough to question if you’ve got the right guy at the helm for that.
Which leads me to one little detail that Mandel mentions but completely glosses over. Perhaps you see it, too.
Here’s Hint #1: “West Virginia AD Oliver Luck, who started on the job last June…”
And here’s Hint #2: “Maryland AD Kevin Anderson, meanwhile, inherited an admittedly awkward situation when he arrived in September.”
Maybe the real trend here is that if you’ve compiled a mediocre record and the AD who hired you is no longer your boss, you’d best quickly figure out a compelling justification for your continued employment in the same position. Which is nothing new, if you think about it.