Posted by Bryan Fischer
DALLAS, Tex. – I’m in Dallas for the annual American Football Coaches Association Convention this week. One of the biggest draws of the convention is to network with other coaches and in some cases actually receive a job offer from a recently hired head coach.
It’s pretty obvious when you walk into the conference actually, as four large job boards are plastered with resumes. As assistants jockey for offers and shake hands in the hallway, one often forgotten aspect of switching jobs is the kids they were recruiting.
After months and months of developing a relationship andgetting pitched on attending a particular school, it can sometimes be quite jarring to 18 year olds to no longer have a coach to play for. With the majority of coaching changes occurring within a month of signing day, recruits and their families are often scrambling to schedule other official visits and talk with coaches.
At the Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, former Michigan commitment Demetrius Hart chose Alabama. Hart had committed to Michigan in October but opened things up when Rich Rodriguez was fired as head coach of the Wolverines. As an early enrollee, the coaching change had an even greater impact on his commitment.
“I’ve always liked Alabama,” he said. “But a lot of things came up with the coaching change at Michigan and me trying to get into school early. I didn’t know what coaches were going to be there. I would have been in a situation where I didn’t really know anybody. I had a good relationship (with the staff) and was going to come in early but with them leaving, Alabama was always a place I wanted to go.”
Former Miami commit Teddy Bridgewater had a longtime relationship with former Hurricane coach Randy Shannon. One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, Bridgewater was originally the jewel in the Hurricanes’ class and a special bond with Shannon played an enormous role in first choosing Miami. Without a coach in place, he decommitted about a week after Shannon was fired and eventually committed to Louisville.
“I’ve known Coach Shannon since I was a child,” Bridgewater said. “I played Pop Warner football in Arch Park and he’s an alum of Scott Park, that’s my rival park growing up. He used to come out to the games and the practices. We just grew a relationship over the years.
“For him to just be fired, it hit me hard. I was expecting to play for him. But that’s just the business part of college football.”
As hires are made and the coaching carousel turns this week, it’s worth remembering that sometimes it’s the kids who are impacted the most.