SjT's Doing the Coaching Shuffle

There have been a lot of changes among coaches in the Midwest and elsewhere.<br> <br> Some <b>Wildcat </b>Fans have gone crazy, hoping that somehow, someone they think would be better, would show up in <b>Evanston</b> coaching at <b>Ryan Field</b>.<br> <br> SjT takes a look at the <b>Coaching Carousel</b> and urges everyone to step back, and see just what comes of all these changes...<br>

With all the Coaching Changes in the last few days,

Steve started contemplating all of changes, and reflecting on the possible new head coaches around the midwest come Signing Day. We at Purple Reign will steal a few questions from the boards and present Steve's answers....

First off, Steve's on the fence about the logic of quickly changing coaches who don't win immediately.

Yeah - just look at Ty -- he had a great record his first year and folks were ready to annoint him the ND football savior.

But yes, it's gonna be real interesting to watch all these schools -- who they go after, who they settle for and what that person does in the next few years. It should be fun. The Trib had a great back page graphic/article today on all the openings, who's up for 'em, what expectations are, status of the program, etc.
But what about those [like Coach Roy] who don't seem to want any change, ever. Even Steve has been painted with that brush...
I don't think I've seen anybody say that. And if that is intended to mean me, then I certainly never said it. I do think firing a coach because he only won 6 when we have unreasonable expectations to win 9 is bad. And in that case, we can look at a few schools in the next few years ...
- As mentioned, Nebraska fired a coach with 9 wins. They wanted more -- year one was a disaster, but we'll see what the next few years of change brings as the Huskers try and go Oklahoma's route ... suffer for awhile, then change and move in the modern era.

- Florida fired a coach who had brought in top classes and won 7 games this year with a predominantly underclass team. The SEC has passed the Gators by and if Steve Spurrier catches fire in Columbia, Florida may be looking up at UGa, Rocky Top and the Gamecocks from the lower division of the SEC east.

- And yes, Notre Dame, fired a coach three years into a rebuilding project that wasn't going fast enough ... amid dellusions of past grandeur that many don't feel still exist in the new era of college football.
Those three coaching changes I'd say were cases of "greedy firings" in that the staffs were doing well, but not well enough with what many could argue are unrealistically high expectations ... it will be fun to see whether they pay off.

It will also be interesting to watch Illinois and Indiana simply because they are conference foes whose programs the last decade or so have been pretty much at or below NU's level (plus, the Gerry DiNardo firing was especially bogus) ... will they just continue a cycle of frustration and start rebuilding from square 1 or 2 again while their students look forward to hoops season ... or can they turn it around quickly (ala Purdue) and (then the tricky part) get that miracle worker coach to stick around and see it through? (something we couldn't do with Gary Barnett).
But all the fans who are demanding a coaching change only want a more competitive NU team but they also want to maintain the present high academic standards...

We'll agree on that -- and don't forget right now we're in the middle of a contract. So we'll have a couple years to watch the results elsewhere and see how they apply to Northwestern. But I think we all can agree that we don't want NU to become one of those schools that axes a coach mid-contract even if they do everything right "Sunday through Friday."

The other interesting one to watch, of course, will be Stanford. Ty took 'em to their first Rose Bowl in decades (kind of like us in 1995 except we got Dennis Green among the frustrated past coaches instead of Bill Walsh) ... can they rebound in a more competitive Pac 10 (the Pac Northwest schools are solid now ... USC and Cal have awoken from hibernation ... and keep an eye on Stoops the Second down in Tucson)?
But????
If I didn't feel strongly about axing coaches mid-contract who have completed back-to-back 6-win seasons, I'd be awfully tempted to go after Willingham as well.

But you're right -- this is going to be a real interesting next few years to watch. There certainly seem to be more firings now than I can remember in other years ... and if Meyer, BSU's coach, and others are picked for some of these jobs, there will be more openings (and don't forget that Utah is a pretty attractive job now -- they've done the impossible with the BCS, they've renovated facilities, have a competitive NC schedule to make waves nationally ... and Mr. Chow lives in Salt Lake City, so the Utes may still be around even if Meyer bolts for the THIRD time in four years).
How about a quick look at the Big Ten coaching positions ...
MINNESOTA - Mason was pretty obviously campaigning for OSU a few years back, now it appears he's stuck in Siberia, er, Minneapolis until they either get a new stadium or get sick of 6-5 seasons and minor bowls.

IOWA - Despite the rumors, I think Ferentz is gonna be a pain in our butts for a loooong time in Iowa City. They're upgrading facilities, have a solid tradition and program and are only getting better recruits each year. After his kids are out of school, perhaps he'll bolt for the pros, but he'd be a fool to ... he's a college coach and could be a legend bigger than Hayden by the time he's done.

WISCONSIN - Barry's got a year or two left until he hands it off to his hand-picked successor. No real shocking changes on the horizon there.

ILLINOIS - Open!

INDIANA - Open!

PURDUE - I thought for sure Tiller would have bolted by now ... but he's sticking around and doing a solid job in West Lafayette. They're upgrading facilities as well and starting to be a consistent threat to battle for the league title. I don't see Wily Joe leaving anytime soon.

MICHIGAN STATE - They stumbled upon a pretty good one in John L. Smith after a few years of rotation following Perles ... Smith's already made his move and should be in Spartan green for a few more years at least. If he can take the program out of the shadow of Big Blue (and he's done wonders with a patchwork of players his first two years - think of what he'll do with his own recruits), he may bolt higher in 5-6 years.

MICHIGAN - If Carr is about to step down, I'd think Michigan will be like Wisconsin and promote from within the family. If it does become open, it is one of the 2-3 most attractive positions in the nation. But I think this one won't be up for grabs like ND or Florida this year ... Carr won't leave until he wants to, and when he does, he'll have a successor lined up.

OHIO STATE - If Tressel survives the scandal, he'll be in Columbus for a long time. This was the job he wanted and despite the headaches, it's one of the elite jobs. Plus, the guy's a heck of a coach -- and as long as he keeps beating Michigan, he won't be under any alumni pressure for awhile. If the scandal does grow, though, this could be one of those wide-open coaching scrambles because they'd want to clean house to clean up the image.

PENN STATE - The one position everyone thought would be up for grabs isn't ... yet. I think JoePa knows his D will be something special next year and wants one more season (asking Santa for a halfway decent offense) so he can go out on top. In any case, he's gotta line up a successor to take over the program or else this job could slip into disarray. Still - you have one of the nation's largest stadiums, loyal alumni, great tradition, a football-crazy state and a recruiting pipeline nationwide ... if this one does open up, there will be some good candidates looking into it and someone could really awaken a sleeping giant in Happy Valley.

NORTHWESTERN - Well, some of us see progress, others want more ... in the next year or two and with watching what happens in South Bend, Lincoln, Palo Alto and elsewhere, we may have our answer.
Go Cats
- SjT
Stephen J. Truog has his own NU oriented Web Site
Visit SjTonline


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