Criteria For a Coaching Change?

When is the right time for a coaching change? With one of the best recruiting classes in the past decade set to sign with Sherman in February, is it time to consider a change? Aggie Websider's David Sandhop takes an inside look at the criteria for making a coaching change

It is becoming obvious that some donors and former students no longer support Sherman or feel he can get the job done. For that fact alone, the university officials will need to evaluate the feasibility of a change. I still stick by my opinion that making a change just because you are mad at Sherman for a sub-par season is the wrong reason to make a change. You make a change for one of two reasons:

1) The head coach is incompetent and driving the program into a ditch. The influx of talent into the program is slowing down because prospects see the program on a downward slide.

2) There is a realistic head coaching candidate that raises the bar of the program and can take what the current coach has done and elevates the program to the next level.

I think we can all agree that #1 is not the case here. Sherman has improved this program and the influx of talent is still improving the roster from top to bottom. Thus, for a change to be smart #2 has to be in place.

So I ask, who moves the bar forward?

Kirby Smart? He's never been a head coach and at 35 years-old the only relevant coordinator experience he's had has been the last four seasons at Alabama under defensive-minded Nick Saban who many say actually does the heavy lifting on defense and Smart is a figure-head. He also is coordinating a defense with the best talent by far in the nation. Are his defenses good because he's a great defensive mind, or is it that even an average defensive coach with the best talent in America can be very successful.

Gus Malzahn? He's not scoring many points over at a struggling Auburn program. It's becoming apparent that the genius of Gus Malzahn was actually the God given special talent of Cam Newton. He also has never been a head coach. I'm sorry, but if I'm going to replace a head coach that is still improving the overall talent and depth of my roster, I'm not laying out $15 million in transaction costs to bring in a rookie head coach who was coaching high school six years ago.

Kevin Sumlin? Now we're getting on the right track. The guy spent many years as a position coach/OC at various BCS schools like Minnesota, Purdue, Texas A&M, OU and has a track record being a successful CEO of a d-1 program. Ideally, I'd want an established coach from a BCS school, but at least Sumlin has a successful CEO track record.

Chris Peterson? Yeah, now we're talking. Established track record as a head coach and CEO of football program. But I'm telling you, that list is very small, and the transaction cost will be very high. But, it's probably the smart move.

But I'm vehemently against the idea that you fire a Mike Sherman who is still improving this program from a talent standpoint for a roll of the dice on a rookie head coach that you pay $1.8 million. If A&M is going to do this right, the school must be willing to attract the top established head coach at between $3-5 million/year.

Change to improve the program is desired. Change for the sake of change because you dislike Mike Sherman for losing close games is not desirable.

There is a big difference.

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