“There are too many people counting on us.”

Admittedly, my first response to Jon Solomon’s article about Charlie Strong’s firing and its effect on black coaches was a bit knee jerk, but he makes a solid point when he writes,

Advocates who are pushing for minorities to get more interviews for head-coaching jobs are closely watching what happens next with Strong.

They remember Will Muschamp at Florida Gators , Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and Ron Zook at Florida. They all failed miserably at one high-profile job only to get another head-coaching position fairly quickly (at South Carolina Gamecocks , Kansas and Illinois Fighting Illini , respectively). There’s also Ed Orgeron, who similarly failed miserably as a first-time head coach at Ole Miss Rebels and — after a decade as an assistant and interim coach — worked his way back to one of the most prestigious jobs in the country at LSU. They’re all white. (Willingham got another job after Notre Dame and went 11-37 at Washington Huskies in four years.)

What jobs open up this offseason and where Strong wants to coach will be factors determining whether he’s a head coach in 2017. Another factor: Presidents and athletic directors considering Strong had a 23-3 record in his final two years at Louisville Cardinals after cleaning up problems he inherited.

“The question isn’t about him falling [at Texas], it’s will he get an opportunity somewhere else?” said Ohio State Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith…

Indeed.

I’ve said for years, it’s not that athletic directors are racists — athletics aren’t a place you can succeed with that kind of attitude — as much as they’re lazy and more than willing to tap into the familiar as a way of avoiding being accused of taking unnecessary risks.  I may not be as sure as I could be about Strong’s head coaching ability, as others are.  He did very well at Louisville, but the best that can be said about his Texas stint was that he and the school were a bad match.  Even with that, I’m certainly sure he’s no worse a gamble than Boom, Weis or the Zooker were on their second shots.

By the way, and on an entirely different note, this passage ought to be interesting to GTP’s self-appointed expert on HR and hiring:

Universities are bound by federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to not discriminate when hiring. However, athletic departments often find a way around having a diversified pool, unlike other job openings at universities, Norvell said.

“ADs call the HR department when they have a hot candidate and they ask for a waiver,” Norvell said. “What the waiver does is get them around Title VII because they can qualify it as an emergency hire and then they don’t need a diversified pool…”

Must have seemed like an emergency after Jimmy Sexton opened the lines of communication with South Carolina, I suppose.

29 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

29 responses to ““There are too many people counting on us.”

  1. Walt

    Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like black head coaches are under a lot pressure to hire black assistants, and maybe that affects their success. I haven’t seen any analysis of this hypothesis.

    Regarding Charlie Weis repeatedly getting high profile opportunities, he’s either an incredible bullshitter in an interview or he’s got dirt on every AD in the business.

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  2. BrightOwl

    “Must have seemed like an emergency after Jimmy Sexton opened the lines of communication with South Carolina, I suppose.”

    Bravo, sir! Te saluto.

    (Note to self: autocorrect does not like Latin. My time in Park Hall, although tremendously enjoyable, seems less and less applicable as time goes on.)

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  3. W Cobb Dawg

    UGA’s recent experience with a.a. assistants has been pretty good. Just think if Rocker, Tucker, and McGee had results similar to Chaney, Pittman and Beamer. Yikes!

    Wouldn’t mind having Bmac and Belin back at all. Wilson, Brown and Ball all held their own. Only recent a.a. coach who did a questionable job was Garner, and I’d place some of the blame on CMR for not demanding better performance.

    In his mid-50’s, I feel pretty sure Strong will land on his feet. Though I’m not sure what obstacles he has with clauses in that $10+ million buyout.

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  4. heyberto

    If Charlie doesn’t get another shot, they’ve got a legitimate argument. I think that guy was one helluva a great coach as an assistant, and great head coach an Louisville. He’s a classy guy on top of it, doesn’t seem to have a down side on the personal front, obviously. My first instinct is he’ll land somewhere good. Might be a coordinator for 1-2 years before getting the next head coach job, but his past work makes Texas look like a blip on his career radar, not an indication of his lack of coaching ability. If he doesn’t get another shot, something else is wrong.

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  5. Mayor

    It’s a question of winning. Win and you don’t get fired. Lose and you do. Charlie Strong had a winning program at Louisville and left it for the bright lights of Austin where he flopped. Not just flopped mind you, but lost more games in a 3 year history than ever before had been lost at Texas! I feel no sorrow for him and I am offended by those who attempt to play the race card about it. I do hope he gets another chance, though, because I think he is a decent (that’s all) coach. As for Boom, USCe will fire him in a couple of more years because he’s not HC material, Weiss can’t sniff a job and Zook isn’t mentioned any more either. Bad examples chosen by the author IMHO.

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  6. Senator , sometimes it is best to go with your knee jerk reaction……..if you lose more than win at the richest program in America…you are gone and I don’t give a fig if your green ,blue, black or a transgender lesbian ,Sports are still one of the last bastions of merit and what Strong did at Texas merited firing. Strong’s record at Colorado State or Buffalo doesn’t get him fired but ….forget about it, Jake,its Texas.

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    • Sports are still one of the last bastions of merit…

      That would explain Charlie Weis.

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      • Sh3rl0ck

        Well, he was only give two chances as a HC. He wasn’t a real failure at Notre Dame. He actually showed that he could coach, but just couldn’t recruit at a national level as is required at Notre Dame.

        Kansas gave him another shot, and he used it to fail spectacularly. He hasn’t had a job since. Though, to his credit, Mark Mangino is the only coach to have even moderate success at Kansas in the modern age.

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        • I dunno. When I reflect on Weis’ career at ND, I can’t help but thinking his biggest win was a loss to Southern Cal. I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way.

          His year with Boom was nothing to write home about, either.

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          • Sh3rl0ck

            I guess my general point was that his tenure at ND wasn’t a clear indicator that he couldn’t be successful at a Boston College or a Rutgers by those programs definitions. His tenure at Kansas proved he was a giant ass, both physically and personally.

            Strong’s tenure at Texas shows that he isn’t really suited for a Big XII job. It was unfamiliar recruiting territory and a style of game that was foreign to him. The BS of the politics in Texas wasn’t really his thing either. His tenure at Louisville showed that he could build a competitive East Coast team with a Florida recruiting pipeline. Before he left for Texas, I was worried that he might end up at Florida replacing Boom.

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    • I don’t see anything about whether he deserved to be fired. The question was whether he’d get another shot like white coaches who had been fired for underperforming. Unlike Will, Weis and Zook, Strong performed well as head guy once. Also unlike Weis, Will and Zook, who were handed the keys to one of the prized gems in all of college football in their first gig, Strong started out at Louisville. Many speculated that Strong couldn’t get a SEC HC job not because of his own skin color but because of that of his wife’s.

      When it comes to players I agree that race has largely evaporated as an issue save for the way they are treated with respect to academics and finances. But progress as always is slow. We’ll get there but you’d have to be willfully blind to think we’ve arrived at a “merit based” system in the hiring of head coaches. 90 percent of the players are black. What is the representation among coaches? 15 to 20?

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      • Huntindawg

        I have to disagree. As the Senator points out on at least a daily basis, college football is more about money than anything else. Now take the next step.

        Take two equally qualified head coaches in terms of every measurable aspect of running a major program. Using your same argument about the race of the majority of college football players, who would you choose as your hire? Who do you think would have a built in recruiting advantage? If you have the better recruits, don’t you win more games all other things being equal? (taking the same hypothetical, if a Saban coached team plays another team coached by an identical Saban clone, the team with better players wins, right?)

        And doesn’t a winning team generate more revenue? Who do you think would make your team more money? I would hire a black Saban over a white Saban on every day that ends in Y. And I think every AD that likes to make money makes the same decision.

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  7. Russ

    I hope Strong gets another shot in the near future. Class guy, and I still think he’s a good head coach in the right situation. Certainly as good as Weis, Muschamp or Zook.

    What jobs are open? He might opt to sit a bit, lick his wounds and come back next year or so.

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  8. Cojones

    Hiring him because he is black is worse than not hiring him because he’s black.

    If I were Strong, I’d really resent anyone bringing up the race card in order for me to be rehired. Please tout my achievements because that’s what I’m interviewing under. If anyone doesn’t want to interview me, then I’m sure they are looking at different candidates that are better fits other than using my race as a basis for further employment. If they go to the trouble of bringing me in to look at my qualities compared to others, then I’m sure they will pick the best coach in the lot. If you weren’t going to do it that way, why bring me in? If you tout racism because I didn’t get the job, why would an institution piss on their shoes by bringing me in as a candidate? That would make the racist alums more angry than if you just didn’t include me in the candidates.

    I think that Coach Strong will do well with his endeavor to remain a college coach without racist sentiment being a factor either way. You do him an injustice by bringing it up now. Please excuse me while I dislike Strong as a person because he was the D-Coordinator for the hated Gators and built their recent rep for defense. Other than that, live and let live is a more reasonable approach for those I’m prejudiced against, none of which is based on anyone’s race.

    However, Senator, you seem caught up in the opposite direction whenever a person’s race is mentioned as black and you let it color your comprehension of what bloggers have to say. I can recall two incidences, specifically: One concerned a 5* recruit thief who stole a phone from a coed after slipping stealthily into her room and you jumped on a few of us because we didn’t want that kind of person on our team ; the second was the ND transfer QB who had academic cheating in his background (you wanted him instead of the A-average QB from your alma mater). You implied racism for having opinions opposite of yours and racism was far from the truth, however you continued by castigating Greyson as a pariah even after he won 10 games and started us with a victory over NC at the beginning of this year, no matter that we all could read everything posted about him long before he joined our team. None of that was necessary and a better man would never have done it to a Georgia player who couldn’t defend from your remarks.

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    • Cojones

      BTW, I never liked the way powerful alums at Texas treated Strong any more than some here did to Richt. I’m happy that he has 10.3 M to stay out of a coaching relationship unless it is voluntary without signing a contract until after Texas has paid him all the money they signed. That would be a laugher that we could all enjoy.

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    • I’m not going to waste a lot of time responding to your accusations, but I will point out that your perception that I wanted Georgia to sign Everett Golson is incorrect.

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    • Scorpio Jones, III

      “Hiring him because he is black is worse than not hiring him because he’s black.” Bowaza, Cojo. Yessir!!!!

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Two of corch’s championship rings were due primarily to Strong’s defense. He also did well at scu as DC and great at Louisville as HC.

    Getting off the subject of the post, but I’m wondering if the game isn’t passing some of these great DCs by. The Strong’s, Van Gorder’s, Chavis’s, and big game Bob’s of cfb have been turning into dinosaurs before our eyes. Is it the spread offenses or rule changes? And what does that future hold for Kirby and Tucker? I’m not sure we can have a prototypical nfl offense and statuesque QB in today’s game. Offensive innovators seem to rule the day and that definitely leaves people like Chaney out in the cold. I wonder if mizzou/Odom may have the right idea with Heupel as OC.

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  10. SouthGaDawg

    Hey, give UT some credit. They interviewed Ray Sherman seconds before they hired Herman.

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  11. rchris

    Interesting he didn’t mention Richt as a fired white coach who got a new gig. His case is newer than Zook’s and Weis’s, and it involved 2 high profile programs, not just one.

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  12. 86BONE

    Senator it is WAY too early to start this kind of shit! The off season will be long enough…try to stick to some football man…we got plenty to talk about on the gridiron

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  13. lakedawg

    I really am realizing that this is going to be one. Long long off season. However we can look forward to that stellar home schedule next year😭

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  14. PepperNeedsNewShorts

    Meh. It’s a real stretch to say that Universities are trying to avoid Title VII by declaring the hiring an emergency and therefore avoid a deluge a resumes that might create a Title VII claim. Several reasons: (1) almost no one ever brings discriminatory hiring claims anyway, even though that’s where most discrimination actually occurs, because bringing the suit almost guarantees that you’ll never get another job; (2) Universities still get tons of inquiries from other coaches, so even if one wanted to bring a claim, they probably could do so (but they don’t because of #1); (3) the hiring of the head football coach is actually an emergency in the sense that it is VERY important to identify a HC as soon as possible, particularly after the regular season, in order to hit the recruiting trail. You can’t win or even compete without recruiting, and if you have no HC, you are dead in the water in terms of your ability to recruit. So you don’t have the luxury of posting and waiting 2-4 weeks for interested applicants. Maybe it’s a reflection of our backwards priorities that we care so much about the hiring of a college football coach rather than a University professor, but the fact that it’s a little embarrassing doesn’t mean it’s any less accurate.

    Like

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