Dodge Ball is done. The movie did better than the label attached with so much excitement to Todd Dodge's offense when he arrived at North Texas in 2007.
Dodge was fired Wednesday after 3 1/2 frustrating seasons in the Sun Belt. The Mean Green had won four consecutive conference titles under previous coach Darrell Dickey. Under Dodge, North Texas sunk to the bottom of the conference.
His hiring was a bold move for both the school and the coach. Dodge, a former Texas quarterback, had gone 79-1 in his last 80 games as a high school coach at nearby Southlake Carroll. A high school coach. The winning prep percentage did not translate to success in even the lowest-rated Division I-A conference.
I feel for Dodge. When I spoke to him shortly after he got the job, he was still bitter over the way he was treated at times at Texas. Those teams were a shadow of the powerhouses Mack Brown has put together recently in Austin.
"Everything about you as a man will be exposed," Dodge said of being the Longhorns quarterback. "Character, toughness, resilience. There's times when you walk around town and everybody wants to love you up. It's ridiculous. Other times, you walk around town and you're a leper."
I feel for Dodge for having relive those feelings today. The usual factors applied in his firing. He was 6-37 in those 3 1/2 seasons. His son, Riley, was the quarterback but broke his wrist a few weeks ago. The team has gone through four starters at the position. There have been 12 players suffer what are considered season-ending injuries. Let's see Ohio State win under those circumstances. A new $78-million, 30,000-seat stadium is due to open next season. It needs to be filled.
Those are the reasons Dodge is gone, but will emerge somewhere. Dodge is a decent man and a good coach who will end up as a successful offensive coordinator in his next job. It was his spread option offense at Southlake Carroll that spread like a virus around to the state's high schools. His former quarterback at Southlake, Chase Daniel, is in the NFL.
I feel for him today. I don't want all those repressed feelings about being Texas' quarterback coming up again. He deserves better.