Tag:Mike Leach
Posted on: February 11, 2011 5:06 pm
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Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), Feb. 11

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.

FOUR LINKS ...

1. When last we left new Texas secondary coach Jerry Gray, he was being considered by new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak for the Titans' defensive coordinator position. As of this afternoon, that consideration has become an interview --unless he's already decided to stay at Austin.

2. The following cartoon was found in a time capsule in Tuscaloosa and is more than 100 years old:



Too bad that after nine months, other than knowing it's some kind of smack talk in the direction of Auburn's football and baseball teams, no one really knows what it means . Elsewhere at Alabama, the snow gives some students the chance to memorialize Nick Saban's championship season ahead of time.

3. It's been a rough couple of weeks for Arizona State; the Sun Devils signed one of the smallest, most uninspiring recruiting classes in the Pac-12 on Signing Day, then saw defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Grady Stetz leave to become the defensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Tuesday.

4. Texas got a late addition to its 2011 recruiting haul when prep All-American linebacker Tevin Jackson of Garland (Tx.) was cleared by the NCAA after a transcript issue prevented him from enrolling in 2010. Jackson will enroll in June and will have the standard five-years-to-play-four.

AND THE CLOUD ...

You know this already, but Mark Richt really is a nice guy ... The SEC is deciding exactly how much the various transgressions of the cowbell rule will cost Mississippi State ... Don't expect an unbiased, evenhanded account from an author who considers Mike Leach "one of the most successful college football coaches in history," but nonetheless a book on Leach's firing is on the way ... Maryland's recruits weren't thrilled over former defensive coordinator Don Brown's departure ... Negotiations on UNLV's on-campus domed stadium (which we mentioned a little while back) have officially been given the green light .

Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:10 pm
 

How important is a coach's age to winning titles?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Virginia Tech-centric blog Gobbler Country posted an interested study today, examining the breakdown of championship-winning coaches' ages in the modern era of college football. The question raised is "how old is too old," and excepting some obvious outliers, the answer is "younger than you think."

For the champions, I used the BCS from 1998-present, the coaches' poll from 1982-1997 and the AP poll from 1960-1981.

Time span Avg. Age
1960-69 46.4
1970-79 51.0
1980-89 48.6
1990-99 55.6
2000-10 49.9
BCS Era 55.1
1960-2010 51.3

The ages of head coaches have fluctuated from mid 40s to mid 50s since 1960, but the average has been a little over 51 years of age. However, there has been one coach that has helped break the curve. Take away Bobby Bowden's two titles and the average in the 90's shrinks to 52.8 and the BCS era shrinks to 53.8.

What's even more unsettling to programs with older coaches is the breakdown of championships by age bracket:

Age Span Champs
< 40 5
40-44 9
45-49 9
50-54 14
55-59 9
60 + 5

Not only is there a precipitous dropoff from the early 50s to 60+, those five titles were won by just three coaches: The aforementioned Bowden with two, Bear Bryant with two, and Joe Paterno -- the three most celebrated coaches of the modern era of I-A football. What's more, Bryant had won his first title at the age of 50, while Paterno won his first at 56. Bowden didn't win his first until he was 64, but that was after six straight top-five finishes in the final poll for Florida State. In other words, each of those three coaches firmly established his national championship bona fides before his 60th birthday, while every other coach who ever hit 60 in the last 50 years was quite evidently past his prime.

It's not really surprising, then, to have seen Maryland jettison longtime head coach Ralph Friedgen, who was 63 at the end of the 2010 and who clearly wasn't about to win a title at such a mediocre football school (no offense, Terps, but let's be honest). Incoming coach Randy Edsall will have just turned 53 at the outset of the 2011 season, and while one might joke that Maryland's only got two seasons of Edsall in his prime before it all goes downhill, it's not as if he's got 15 years in front of him with the Terrapins.

So with all this in mind, here are a few more notable coaches and their ages as of the start of the 2011 season. It would be incorrect to say there's a "new generation" of coaches on the move (seven years or so doesn't really constitute a generational gap) but it's pretty clear that a few of these guys aren't lasting much more than five years -- especially if they're not winning 10 games a year anymore.

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech, 64
Mack Brown, Texas, 60
Gene Chizik, Auburn, 49
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, 56
Al Golden, Miami, 42
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State, a man, 44
Brady Hoke, Michigan, 52
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame, 49
Chip Kelly, Oregon, 47
Lane Kiffin, USC, 36
Mike Leach, free agent, 50
Les Miles, LSU, 57
Dan Mullen, Mississippi St., 39
Will Muschamp, Florida, 40
Joe Paterno, Penn State, 84
Gary Patterson, TCU, 51
Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 43
Chris Petersen, Boise State, 46
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas, 50
Mark Richt, Georgia, 51
Nick Saban, Alabama, 59
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, 50
Jim Tressel, Ohio State, 58
Kyle Whittingham, Utah, 51

Now obviously, not all of these schools are going to win national championships in the next 5-10 years. But by and large, most of these schools do pay their coaches a gigantic salary -- to the point that the expectation of competing on a national level is inevitable. If a coach is struggling in his fourth or fifth year with a program, is an athletic director going to be more apt to fire the coach if he's 57 instead of 47? Is that age discrimination, or common sense?

Posted on: January 24, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Gloria Friedgen talks some smack about Maryland

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You know, Ralph Friedgen isn't the only member of the Friedgen family that is going to need to make some adjustments in life. Yes, it will take Ralph a lot of time to get used to not having to go to work everyday, and devote so many hours to running a football program. Well, Ralph's wife also has to adjust to having her husband around the house a lot more too.

It can be pretty stressful. When you've been married for such a long time, and you get used to a routine, when that routine is disrupted it affects everything. Which may explain why Gloria Friedgen was on edge during an appearance on the radio this weekend, deciding to take out her frustration on the man who replaced her husband at Maryland.

"It was a pretty emotional exit, let's just say," Gloria Friedgen said in her radio appearance. "You know, not only did Ralph graduate from Maryland with two degrees and coach there three times, if you will -- as a graduate assistant, then with Bobby [Ross] and then now. I mean, I got my degree there, my two daughters got their [degrees] there. I kind of chuckle when I see that if you're just a fan, it makes you a real catch to Maryland. I guess people who drive by also could be the head coach."

Just as long as that person driving by isn't Mike Leach.

What Lady Friedgen was referring to was the fact that Randy Edsall said Maryland was his dream job, and his vast connections to the school include attending his first college football game there and having a brother who has called a few technical fouls on men's basketball coach Gary Williams. Not exactly the type of connection that her husband had to the school.

Still, though she used Edsall as an example, I'm sure her remarks were directed more at the school that kicked her husband out the door. I don't blame her for it, either.  Ralph Friedgen was an extremely loyal employee to the school who got a raw deal at the end.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 12:57 pm
 

Mike Leach should just let this go

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Associated Press reported this morning that an appeals court has dismissed Mike Leach's lawsuit claiming that Texas Tech had committed a breach of contract  when they fired him in January of last year, and denied his claims for monetary damages. But not surprisingly -- given Leach's by-now famously stubborn temperament and own law degree -- Leach and his representation say they will file an appeal of the ruling, and hope to take the case to the Texas Supreme Court.

This may or may not be the right move, legally speaking. (This blogger is certainly no lawyer.) But in terms of Leach's coaching career, currently in a state of suspended animation, the appeal won't do anything to help get him back on the sidelines.

Because at this point, it's fair to assume that Leach's legal entanglements have become a major roadblock between Leach and his next head coaching gig. 22 schools hired new head coaches this offseason, and only Maryland gave Leach so much as an interview. For a coach with Leach's oft-stated (very oft-stated) desire to return to coaching and his impeccable resume -- exciting offenses, high graduation rates, no NCAA trouble, a legitimate national championship contender built in the relative hinterlands of Lubbock -- the snubs are otherwise inexplicable.

Take the case of Dana Holgorsen, a Leach disciple running Leach's offense. Why is he one of the hottest coaching commodities in the country, even without any head coaching experience at the FBS level, while Leach -- who all-but-invented the offense Holgorsen runs and has a decade of highly successful head coaching under his belt -- can't get a sniff? Why hire the guy you're hoping becomes the next Leach when you can just hire the real thing?

The only logical answer is Leach's reputation for prickliness and the ugliness of the legal dispute between himself and Texas Tech. As one official at a BCS-conference school told Sports Illustrated :
"When you're looking for the promise of a new day, you don't want to have to account for those cloudy days from years past," said a senior athletic administrator whose BCS-conference school had a recent opening but never considered Leach. "Wherever he is hired, it's going to be difficult not to have that opening press conference and those opening profiles include what happened at Texas Tech."
Leach may eventually have his day in court. But it looks like that day, more than ever, may cost him years of his coaching prime. If he's serious about getting back to football (and about repairing his image, fair or not, as an unmanageable maverick), it's likely long beyond the point where the appeal should have been dropped.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Headset Reset: the Big East and Mountain West

Posted by Tom Fornelli

"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Big East and Mountain West

TODD GRAHAM, Pitt

Why him? Because Mike Haywood got arrested two weeks after he was hired. Also because Graham put together some successful offenses at Tulsa. For 2011, Graham needs to: build a strong offense without the services of Pitt's two best offensive players Jonathan Baldwin and Dion Lewis.  Luckily for Graham, Dave Wannstedt recruited good players to Pitt, but Graham will have to mold them to his offense. By 2014, Graham will need to have: won a Big East title and taken the Panthers to a BCS bowl.  Dave Wannstedt won more games than he lost at Pitt, but it was the lack of a conference championship in a weak conference that ultimately led to his dismissal.  Chances Graham gets what he needs? I'd say they're pretty good. Weak conference or not, Pitt is still in a BCS conference and has the resources to win in college football.  Of course, by the time Graham has his stamp on the program, TCU will be a Big East member, so it won't be easy.

DANA HOLGORSEN, West Virginia

Why him? Have you seen West Virginia's offenses under Bill Stewart the last few seasons?  Nothing like a Mike Leach disciple who helped put together one of the best offenses in the country at Oklahoma State to infuse life into a dormant scoreboard.  For 2011, Holgorsen needs to: bid his time, let Stewart finish his final season, and start getting his offense ready for his ascension in 2012. By 2014, Holgorsen will need to have: won a Big East title and improve the Mountaineers offense enough so that it once again resembles the teams Rich Rodriguez put together.  He'll also need to find a quarterback better suited for his system than Geno Smith. Chances Holgorsen gets what he needs?  They're very good.  Even with the program's struggles under Stewart, they still competed for the Big East title.

PAUL PASQUALONI, UConn

Why him? Well, it came as a bit of a surprise.  Pasqualoni hasn't been a head coach or coached on the college level since 2004, spending the time in between in the NFL.  Still, the last time he was a head coach he was a rather successful one at Syracuse in the Big East.  So he knows what it takes to win in this conference.  For 2011, Pasqualoni needs to: silence the doubters.  We know that Pasqualoni can coach, but will the lay off and his age (he'll be 62 when UConn kicks off its season) prove to be too much for him?  By 2014, Pasqualoni will need to have: maintained what Randy Edsall started at UConn.  I'm not sure he'll have to win a Big East title to keep his job, but at the least he'll have to continue to build the program for his eventual successor.  Chances Pasqualoni gets what he needs?  Not great, but not terrible.  UConn has always been a basketball school first and foremost, but who knows how a trip to the Fiesta Bowl will affect the schools interest in building a winning football team?

ROCKY LONG, San Diego State

Why him?  Because Brady Hoke left, and had built something at SDSU that Long was a part of.  The school didn't want to risk losing any momentum by starting a coaching search. Plus, Long has head coaching experience from his time at New Mexico.  For 2011, Long needs to: continue the rise that Hoke started.  Since Marshall Faulk left for the NFL, the Aztecs weren't exactly a football powerhouse before Hoke came along.  The good news is that Long inherits some talent in Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley. By 2014, Long will need to have: kept San Diego State competing in the Mountain West.  With Utah, BYU and TCU leaving, the conference becomes a lot easier to win.  Chances Long gets what he needs?  Not great.  San Diego State just doesn't have the established history to make me think they'll do whatever it takes to help Long build this team into a powerhouse.  What Long will have working for him, however, is the fertile recruiting base of southern California.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:38 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 1:39 pm
 

So who is the next head coach at Michigan?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that the news is official, and Rich Rodriguez has been fired at Michigan, the process of finding a replacement is underway in Ann Arbor.  If we're to take Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon's words at his press conference on Wednesday to heart, it doesn't sound like a replacement will be announced quickly.  In fact, Brandon made it sound like he hasn't even begun the process yet, which, if true, doesn't bode well for Michigan in 2011.

Still, if he hasn't begun the search yet, here are a few names that will likely be hearing from Michigan in the coming days.

Jim Harbaugh - Actually, from what Brandon said, I'm pretty sure Harbaugh has already heard from Michigan.  Brandon may say he hasn't begun the process but reading between the lines, it sounds like Michigan has contacted Harbaugh and that Harbaugh has told the school he's not interested.  Which is why Brandon didn't seem to have any problems addressing Harbaugh-related questions and even say that he feels Harbaugh is headed to the NFL.  Still, until an official announcement is made by Harbaugh, a portion of the Michigan faithful will hold out hope.

Brady Hoke - Hoke's name has come up as a possible replacement, and he's made it known that Michigan is his dream job and he'd have no problem leaving San Diego State for the job.  Still, even though Hoke has been successful at Ball State and with the Aztecs, I don't think that's enough to make him Michigan's top choice.  Odds are the school will take a stab at some bigger names with Hoke as a backup plan.

Les Miles - Before Michigan hired Rodriguez, rumor was that Miles was one of the school's top choices to replace Lloyd Carr.  Miles stayed at LSU, but it's possible that Michigan could make a run at their former offensive lineman once more.  The question is whether or not Miles would want to leave his nice contract at LSU to take the job, or whether Michigan would be comfortable bringing him home.

Chris Petersen - Any athletic director at a BCS conference school who is looking for a head coach that doesn't call Boise State's Petersen isn't doing his job.  Petersen's done a remarkable job at Boise State, helping keep a tiny commuter school in Idaho a power on the national scene.  If he could do that at Boise State, imagine what he might be able to do with the resources available to him at Michigan.

Gary Patterson - During his press conference, Dave Brandon pointed out that whoever he brings in to replace Rodriguez, an emphasis will be placed on defense.  That doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a defensive-minded head coach, but if Brandon wants a strong defense at Michigan, he could do a lot worse than TCU's Patterson.  The question here is whether or not Patterson would want to make the transition north, or if he has a need to.  After all, TCU will be joining the Big East in 2012, so if Patterson wants to coach in a BCS conference, he no longer has to leave the school.

Mike Leach - I don't think Brandon has any interest in Mike Leach, but I'll bet Leach has interest in Michigan.  Hell, he has interest in every school.

Kyle Whittingham - Whittingham hasn't had any trouble maintaining what Urban Meyer started at Utah, and could bring that success to Ann Arbor.  Of course, considering that Whittingham has been at Utah for 16 years, it doesn't seem as though he's in a hurry to leave the place.  Plus, like Gary Patterson, he's now running a program that is bound for a BCS conference, so the motivation to leave isn't as strong as it may have been.

Urban Meyer - Speaking of Meyer, how about Urban Meyer?  Do I think this would happen?  No, I believe Meyer was serious when saying he wants some time off.  Still, you know it's only a matter of time before somebody throws his name out there, so I may as well.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Arizona hires BYU ex-coordinator Anae

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In the wake of his Wildcats' 36-10 Alamo Bowl demolition at the hands of Oklahoma State (and final, disappointing 2010 record of 7-6), Mike Stoops promised changes in Tucson. And the departure of co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh to follow Dana Holgorsen (somewhat ironically, the architect of the Wildcats' Alamo embarrassment) to West Virginia would seem to give Stoops a perfect opportunity to shake things up for the nation's 89th-ranked rushing offense. But his latest coaching hire seems like more of the same.

Bedenbaugh, fellow co-offensive coordinator Seth Littrell (the Wildcats' primary play-caller), and former 'Cat OC and current Louisiana Tech head coah Sonny Dykes were all hired by Stoops out of the Mike Leach coaching tree that also produced Holgorsen. Instead of moving away from that philosophy, however, Stoops has embraced it once again by replacing Bedenbaugh with former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae , yet another Leach disciple.

In a lot of ways, Anae's hire makes sense all the same. Bedenbaugh's departure puts Arizona in the market for an offensive line coach, which just so happened to be Anae's role at Texas Tech before becoming the Cougars' play-caller. There was also no lack of productivity during Anae's years at BYU; until this year's crater job under a pair of first-time quarterbacks, BYU's offense had finished in the top 25 nationally in total offense for four straight years on Anae's watch. If Stoops wants to strip Littrell of his play-calling duties, Anae would seem to be a viable candidate to take them over.

All the same, if Stoops was serious about really changing things up, he'd have plucked an apple off of a coaching tree other than the same Lubbock-grown one he's visited so many times before. Staying the course may prove the proper decision -- until this season, the Leach brigade had played a major, major role in the program's steady improvement under Stoops -- but if 2010 was the start of a long-term downswing rather than a one-year fluke, Stoops may wish he'd have taken the opportunity to plot a very different course for his offense.

Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:50 am
 

Hank Hughes named interim coach at UConn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UConn finds itself in unfamiliar territory at the moment, because for the first time in the school's FBS history, it has a coaching search to conduct.  The problem is, with signing day not even a month away, somebody needs to take the program over now to keep things running as smoothly as possible while the school begins its search.

And that person is going to be assistant head coach Hank Hughes.

"Hank Hughes is the perfect choice to fill the role as interim head coach for our football program," said UConn AD Jeffrey Hathaway in a statement. "He has been a long-time member of our coaching staff and is extremely loyal to our university and our Division of Athletics. Hank will provide outstanding leadership to our football student-athletes and support staff during this time of transition."

Hughes will also be a candidate to take over the job full time, but he won't be alone in that department.  While the school hasn't made any official announcement about who they'll be looking at, names that keep coming up as possibilities are Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, former Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, and Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe.

Ironically, another name being mentioned is the man who was supposed to be getting the Maryland job Randy Edsall left for, Mike Leach.  In a way, Mike Leach has become the new Randy Edsall since his name comes up for every coaching job, but he never gets the job.  Another possibility would be Rich Rodriguez should he be relieved of his duties at Michigan.
 
 
 
 
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