THE SEARCH: 'Twere well it were done quickly

SHAKESPEARE WOULD HAVE loved football. And there was probably nothing the bard would have enjoyed more than a coaching search. But the guess here is that Willy would have given Ole Miss five stars for their lightning quick efforts while WSU, given their forecast of having someone in place by Jan. 1, would sit at two. Because if it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well, it were done quickly.


But enough about Shakespearean tragedies. Nobody expected Jim Sterk to act like his counterpart at Mississippi, where an agreement with Houston Nutt was announced four hours after Nutt held a press conference to say he wouldn't be returning to coach the Razorbacks. But does Washington State really need five weeks?

If WSU uses all that time to find the right man, that would leave him with just a month to put together a recruiting class. Right now, the Cougs have three known verbal commitments, each of whom is solid, but another 20 or so slots must be filled.

It's hard to imagine the Cougs will go through the month of December without getting their guy. Heck, it's hard to imagine the Cougs would go through next week without getting their man.

I'm all for Washington State making a deliberate decision. They haven't had an extended search for a football coach in 19 years. When Mike Price made it official he was leaving for Alabama, Bill Doba was elevated to head coach the next day.

But three weeks seems adequate -- especially so when prospective candidates seem to be lining up at the door. But more so because the lifeblood of college football -- recruiting -- waits for no one.

And the Cougs already are behind the curve this season. Greg Peterson and the rest of the staff continue to work the trails, but the fact is that no prospect can or will commit until the new coach is lined up.

Cory MacKay of Eastlake High in Sammamish is a case in point of why timing is critical. He said the Cougs had shown him the most love of major conference schools and that he was expecting to take a major step in the courtship in a meeting that was to have taken place with Doba last week. That meeting, of course, was canceled and two days later Ty Willingham came in with a scholarship offer. Mackay verballed with the Dawgs yesterday.

There have been four schools this season that announced coaching changes and then wrapped up their search in 10 days or less.

Baylor named Art Briles coach 10 days after Guy Morriss was fired. Nebraska needed nine days before naming Bo Pelini to replace Bill Callahan. Texas A&M set what was thought to be a land-speed record by hiring Mike Sherman to replace Dennis Franchione, but Nutt took the Ole Miss job less than three days after Ed Orgeron was not retained.

Washington State and Doba parted company nine days ago.

As for what kind of coach Washington State will get, energized or reserved, old or new, and on and on, well that's a whole 'nother story. Perhaps a few quotes from All's Well That Ends Well will be apropos.

Time isn't critical just yet. But in a week it truly will be of the essence.

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