The Case of Mike Singletary for Head Coach

Any information available concerning Baylor's search for a new "head man" in the football department is slim and non-existant. However, as is the case much of the time where the internet is concerned, that doesn't keep the rumor mills running overtime as fans "express" their opinions of inexperience and wishful ideas. Over the next few days, we'll look, one at a time, at the individual candidates and try to come up with some evidence as to who might get the job.

The first name that jumps out is former Baylor and Chicago Bears' great, Michael Singletary. One of Singletary's former Baylor playmates has really been pushing this Baylor legend with a vengenance, calling to arms any and all internet buddies he can muster for support. The single biggest deficit "Big Mike" has is simple - he's never been a coach. No, I didn't say he's never been a head coach - he has never coached, even at the elementary or even junior high school level. Oh, he's made some inspiring speeches to football teams - even the Baylor Bears, like the one at Notre Dame a few years back, but being a head coach at a division one football program, especially one in a premier conference requires a bit more from its head man than some inspired speeches.

Don't misread this. Mike Singletary has been a dedicated football player since his days at Worthing in Houston, through his fabulous years at Baylor, and of course, the Chicago Bears of the NFL where he earned his status in the NFL Hall of Fame. BUT, and that is a big "but," coaching is not something you just pick up by being a player at all levels of competition, no matter how successful one is. And, to be fair, there are several coaches out there, past and present, who were once successful football players. Jack Pardee comes immediately to mind, as does Ken Hatfield, and others, but name a single one who came out of NFL retirement to head coach - anywhere?

Most coaches who have successful coaching careers are not former college or NFL greats. They are, in fact, students of the game who spent most of their time learning the game and all aspects of it, rather than excelling in a limited role. They are dedicated to learning, dedicated to long hours, and gaining as much experience as they can from others enjoying the same profession. They have earned the right to do what they do over years of long hours and sacrifice. Their vast knowledge and understanding not only of the elements, but of the psychology of the athletes involved came from those long hours and many years of work experience. One relevant question that must be asked, is how many coaches, who have gone through those "tests of fire" would be willing and happy to serve one who has never been singed by the coaching flames?

Baylor just fired a coach who had been an assistant coach at several colleges, including extended stays at Tennessee and Nebraska, followed by four year coaching in the NFL. When hired, many "dissidents" pointed out the fact he had never been a head coach or even a coordinator, and for those reasons should not have been chosen. What is so preposterous here is that some of these same "individuals" now claim that Singletary would be a good choice because his playing experience, personality, drive, knowledge, and other intangibles would be enough to overcome the serious deficit in coaching experience. Now, can anyone show how that is not just one big gamble? Can Baylor be so generous as to take such a risk this time around? Can anyone out there truly justify this as a "can't lose" opportunity?

The single biggest question about doing something someone has never done before is how they will adapt to or like, or dislike it. I mean just beause someone has been a foot soldier or "grunt" as they are called in the Marine Corps, does not mean they would like it making all the decisions of where troops should be, or tank movements, gun placements, medic facility placements, reinforcement assignments and such decisions as a general has to make. And even if they were a hero, who led their men and went up in the ranks to become a squad leader and sergeant, would that alone prepare them to takeover as GENERAL, especially when they were losing the war? Ouch!

I'm sure there are some opposing points of view to this article. Therefore, let me provide the same format for any "enterprising" journalist out there who chooses to offer a separate point of view. Write your opposing article. Put your name on it, and email it to me. I will put it up on the front page of this site, exactly where this one resides right now, and put your name to it as author. If more than one is received, the one that is best written will be used. If a couple are well done, then both could find their way to the front page. Any not selected will instead be posted on the bulletin board. This is your opportunity to be read.

bubear@earthlink.net


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