A Modest Suggestion

Tuesday is Day 16 of Alabama's coaching search, and it apparently will pass with no one hired, or even near hiring at this point, to take over for Mike Shula. In fact, Alabama might now be as far away from hiring a coach as it was when it publicly fired Shula on November 27.

Joe Kines is hoeing a row as interim coach, not looking up for fear of hoeing his toe off, and he might be asked to do so a while longer.

That's not necessarily a bad thing unless you have made a vow not to leave the BamaMag.com chat room until a new man is hired, or you've burned through cell phone minutes like fire through tissue paper trying to track the latest lead, rumor, airplane or anything else you think might lead you to the next coach (and for us there have been some fun, if unfruitful, tracking attempts.) But is it bad for Alabama?

Most indications since the bottom fell out of the Rich Rodriguez-to-Bama deal is that Bama is patiently waiting for the end of the NFL season (or at least for some teams to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs) or maybe for some of the bigger bowl games to be wrapped up before naming a coach. Smart money is on this search going into 2007 (while it's noteworthy smart money has lost plenty of times in this search).

While we've been waiting there have been some in the media to begin to toss out suggestions for Mal Moore on a proper hire. These have gotten very creative – from Hoover's Rush Propst to Hawaii's June Jones and everywhere in between – with the best coming from our beloved Internet posters.

When I have been asked who I would personally prefer I've said Steve Mariucci. Of course, my own personal well-being has been the most immediate concern in this suggestion. Mariucci is well-liked and considered very media friendly. He's currently working for the NFL Network, but is presumed to be the a top candidate for the Arizona Cardinals job once Denny Green is fired at season's end.

I also think "Mooch" might be a good hire for Alabama, although the thorough prospecting that should be done on any multi-million dollar employee should be done a couple of rungs above my pay grade. You could argue that he will be the next Pete Carroll. They do have similar backgrounds. An alternate campaign slogan for the ‘Hire Mariucci' crowd (that's not to suggest the crowd numbers in double digits right now) could be "Mariucci: The Steve that Won't Turn Us Down."

But while I am taking my turn at giving suggestions to the University of Alabama, I must complain that the creativity I've seen in suggestions from Alabama fans and media has been limited. No one is really thinking outside the box. But I'm about to go there.

Perhaps Moore should look at candidates outside the profession of coaching football. It has been pointed out many times that the head coaching job at Alabama requires many of the same skills as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and it's true the new coach, through his record, will have the lion's share of input into what amount of revenue is generated by the athletics department.

Perhaps Bill Taylor, my old Chief Executive Officer when I was an intern at Mercedes-Benz, U.S. International in Vance, would be a good candidate. He seemed to do a good job running the company in my limited observation of him. His desk sat just around the corner and down the hall from mine.

Or how about a military man. Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is available. His Gulf War doctrine of overwhelming force at the beginning of an attack would play well in Tuscaloosa.

Why not the current Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice? She is an avid football fan, and she spent part of her upbringing in Alabama. She spoke passionately about the state in a 2005 speech delivered at the Bryant Conference Center on the eve of the Alabama-Tennessee game, and then next day she walked the field and observed from a box up high Alabama's victory over the Vols. She's said before she wanted to be NFL commissioner when she left public service.

Someone from Motorola, Verizon or Sprint could certainly keep the program profitable. How? By decreeing that all the play-calling decisions shall be made by fan text messaging. Select the play you want to run from the playbook and text the coded name of the play to 12345 for $1.99 per each message.

If the plays are working it could generate tens of millions in revenue per game. If the offense sputters, the profit will go up because more people will want to get in on the play calling. If John Parker Wilson decides to audible I guess we're out of luck.

Why not go with someone from broadcasting – say Paul Finebaum or Rick & Bubba. Perhaps someone from the journalism world has the requisite management skills (the always seem to have all the right answers) – Tom Arenberg, the sports editor from the Birmingham News, for instance. (Like Rush Propst, I would never nominate myself for the head coaching position at Alabama, but a coordinator's role maybe?)

The University has a lot of options here – whether it decides to remain in the coaching realm or go outside. Narrowing them down to a suitable replacement could take some time.


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