Monday, November 27, 2006

He's heeeere!

After receiving my video message from Butch Davis, I can now breathe easy that he really is going to be UNC's coach next season. I don't like getting excited over unofficial deals. Remember Bobby Cremins taking the job at the College of Charleston, only to change his mind mere hours later? Not to worry, Tar Heel fans. He's now decked out in Carolina Blue, with the fight song running in the background, saying how glad he is to be UNC's coach. He's a coach to get excited about. Don't associate him with "the dirty Miami program," as I've heard some people refer to it. He had a fantastic win-loss record with the Hurricanes, despite the fact that he was also cleaning up that program. Davis should bring the same level of honor and respectability to the university as did John Bunting, but (hopefully) with a better record.

On the one hand, I feel bad for John Bunting. He's definitely a first-class guy. On the other hand, I don't think his firing is going to have a major negative impact on his career. That's the beauty of the coaching profession...if you don't succeed with one team, you still have a good chance of finding another coaching job elsewhere and making an impact. Look at Matt Doherty. After a humiliating "resignation" from UNC, he's gone from the television booth to Florida Atlantic to SMU. Butch Davis is another example. After his success with the Hurricanes, he was unable to accomplish anything with the Cleveland Browns (insert your favorite Cleveland Browns joke here). Point being, Bunting's career is not over.

Neither are Larry Coker's or Chuck Amato's, for that matter. Here's where the fun begins!

Actually, talking about the Miami coaching search is no fun at all. It's going to be either Rutgers coach Greg Schiano or Wisconsin athletic director (and former head coach) Barry Alvarez. Period.

Now, I do think it's fun that Miami is trying to woo anyone from Rutgers. A friend of mine who lives in New Jersey swears that there are three truths in life: death, taxes, and Rutgers football sucks. Due to Rutgers unexpected performance this season, she's probably now wandering the shoulder of the turnpike carrying signs predicting the end of the world.

Barry Alvarez makes sense, especially when you remember that Miami president Donna Shalala used to be the chancellor at Wisconsin. I've got no problem with Alvarez, but I am troubled by the idea that he would be both the head football coach and the athletic director. Hello? Les Robinson? Why does anyone ever think being both a head coach and an AD is a good idea?

Of course, Alvarez turned the Hurricanes down once before, back in 1995. But that was before Shalala was there. And shoot, Roy Williams said no to UNC the first time they asked. Well, okay, maybe this coaching search is fun to talk about after all.

Now onto NC State, which has already had one fun coaching search this year. Don't worry, Wolfpack fans. This search should be shorter and less circus-like. Why? Because the circumstances are different.

The decision to leave NC State was Lee Fowler's not Chuck Amato's. Amato liked being at State. The names State has supposedly targeted as potential replacements, Navy head coach Paul Johnson and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow, are people who would benefit from becoming the head coach at an ACC school.

This thought, of course, assumes that Bill Cowher is not going to leave the Steelers to coach the Wolfpack, although he does have a nice house in Raleigh. I really can't imagine why Cowher would want to leave the NFL in order to coach college. Coaches leave the NFL for college for two reasons:

1) It's a promotion. As it would be for Norm Chow, and as it was for John Bunting.
2) They left college for the NFL, and realized it was a mistake. As it was for Steve Spurrier and Butch Davis.

Cowher fits into neither category.

I've also heard people mention Steve Logan. I'm not going to flat out say he wouldn't do it, but I doubt it. I think if he wanted to get back into coaching college football, he would have done it by now.

The process of finding a new coach should be short and painless. Now let's compare this search with the basketball search. Sendek had Lee Fowler's full support, at a premiere ACC school, and still chose, for all intents and purposes, to leave Raleigh in the middle of the night. While many Wolfpack fans celebrated Sendek's departure, many coaches probably saw Sendek's actions as a big warning sign, i.e. "Don't coach here." State then turned around and courted coaches (read: Rick Barnes, Rick Pitino, etc.) who would not benefit from leaving their schools to go to NC State. I bring up the basketball search not so much to make fun of it, but to point out why the football search should not resemble it at all. AT ALL.

But these things always have twists and turns. Let the fun begin.

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