Jasper, Green withdraw names from Army list

Just when Navy fans thought they would have an off-season with nothing to worry about regarding staff changes, Army decides to interview Ivin Jasper and Buddy Green for its head coaching job. Even though both have now withdrawn their names from Army's list of candidates, Jasper will probably become a head coach sooner rather than later – and I think he would have been a perfect fit at Army.


[EDITOR'S NOTE]: Now that news has come out that Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Army coaching job, some will conclude that this opinion piece is irrelevant. Well, maybe it is, but since I took the time to write it before the announcement, I figured I'd still post it. I'd also argue that certain points of this article are still worth thinking about if you are a college football program in need of a head coach today – or tomorrow.


If Army is looking for someone to lead their team who has first-hand knowledge of how to stop their archrival's potent triple-option attack every year, Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green would definitely be at the top of the list. Green faces the offense every day in practice and he probably has some significant insight on how to stop it. And even though Army does play eleven other teams each season, hiring a head coach who can immediately make an impact in your biggest game each season is not a bad place to start. Furthermore, Green is a great recruiter and his defensive unit is coming off its best season under his command.

However, Army needs an offensive-minded coach to lead its team out of the doldrums of college football and for several reasons Ivin Jasper would be a great choice to do it. Here are just five of them:

1) Jasper would bring an offense with instant credibility. Just imagine if there was zero doubt in the minds of anybody associated with West Point football whether or not the offense coming with the new coach would work. Any other coach will be expected to run an option-oriented system; however, if that person comes from Kansas or South Florida for example, there will be some doubt as to whether or not their system will work at a service academy. It may need to be tweaked to match the type of athletes who come to West Point. And with tweaks come risks. Of course offenses other than Navy's true triple option scheme can work at a service academy (see Air Force), but zero doubt that your offense will work is a pretty good bullet on the resume.

2) According to athletic director Kevin Anderson, service academy experience is a prerequisite to be the next head football coach at Army. Now before I confirm the obvious (Jasper has that bullet on his resume as well) let me say that this is a silly stipulation. Before I get a million emails from service academy graduates telling me I'm an idiot, let me explain. First and foremost, the number one requirement for the next Army football coach should be that he knows what it will take to turn the Black Knights into winners again. I don't think Urban Meyer has any service academy coaching experience, but I bet he could turn Army into a winning program. I bet Meyer would be a heck of a recruiter too. He'd bring enthusiasm, energy, and a fire to win. Of course that is not going to happen, but if you are Kevin Anderson and Urban Meyer was interested, do you really turn him down because he does not have ‘service academy' experience? You can argue that this is not a realistic scenario, but my only point is if you stop short of looking for the best coach it could come back to bite you. But since it is a necessary requirement, Jasper brings that experience and will understand cadet-life, and blah, blah, blah.

3) Jasper's departure would hurt Navy's football program. (And anytime Army can affect Navy's team in a negative but fair way outside of the field, it is an opportunity that should always be pursued.) A very smart person recently told me that there are only a handful of people in college football who know the Mids' triple-option offense…I mean really know it.  Two of those coaches are in Annapolis and two (maybe three) are in Atlanta. I am not saying that Jasper is irreplaceable, but I am saying it would be tough…and probably not something the Mids would want to do anytime soon. It seems like a century ago, but when Georgia Tech was looking to fill out its coaching staff last December, there was a reason why Jasper's name was at the top of their list. And there is a reason why Navy's athletic director and head coach wasted no time in ensuring Jasper stayed in Annapolis. He is one of a handful of people who know this offense, and more importantly Jasper is one of the few who can teach this offense to young quarterbacks. Ricky Dobbs without Ivin Jasper to instruct him is not a pleasant thought for Navy fans. And if Army were to hire Jasper, you know he would take some assistants from Navy with him. Then you could be talking about a nightmare scenario…as far as finding replacements who know this offense goes.

4) Jasper once told me that he is always striving for perfection in every aspect of the game. That would play very nicely at West Point. Throw the idea of ‘improvement' out the window, and replace it with the word ‘perfection.' Jasper is an intense guy who would bring a demeanor that Army really needs right now…an attitude that would not accept anything but the best from each player on each down. Failure would be unacceptable under a Jasper regime. That too would play very nicely at West Point.

5) Ok, I will say it – Jasper is an African American and college football could really use more black coaches at the Division I level. I think the latest count is what 5 out of 119? That is pathetic. And while the color of one's skin should never be the only factor considered when hiring a coach, I truly believe Jasper would be a great role model and help turn the tide in a profession that seems to be anything but color blind. Jasper would turn that tide because above all else he would turn West Point into a winner – guaranteed.


[EDITOR'S NOTE #2] When I heard Jasper had withdrawn his name, I think my sigh of relief could be heard from Washington D.C. all the way to West Point. Now hopefully Army agrees with my opinion that they need an offensive-minded head coach so Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green is not swayed away from Annapolis…that would make for another nice Christmas present. Looks like it will be a Merry Holiday Season in Annapolis as Green has withdrawn his name as well.


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