Monday, November 19, 2007

Coach Watch Day 23: The state of things

Technical difficulties resulted in a lost blog entry so I will attempt to rehash what was said earlier.

First, I am not even sure why I showed up Saturday. The game was over (almost literally) the moment SMU kicked off. I am sure Bennett really hoped to get a win in these last four games to prove he could coach. I am sure Bennett would have loved for that win to come against Central Florida-the school where Steve Orsini first cut his teeth as an athletic director. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Second, walking up and down the Boulevard, it is clear that everyone has a similar story to tell. Orsini has his guy; he is just waiting until the season is over to make the announcement. It is Nutt. No, wait. It is Kragthorpe. No, it is Fran. No, it is the great mystery candidate that will blow everybody away. Everybody has there own version of the rumor. I suppose one aspect is consistent: Orsini has his guy. This may be true. I hope it is. I suppose we only have a week (or two if you count the MWC, WAC and PAC 10 schedules and the conference championships)., for what it is worth, is still going with its “Steve Kragthorpe will coach SMU next year” story.

Like many people, I have become convinced that Orsini has his guy; he may even have a deal in place. There is, however, only one thing that we really know. The next head coach will have head coaching experience at the Division I-A level (Bowl Subdivision).

After thinking about it, I have convinced myself of one more thing. Orsini’s first choice is currently a head coach. I will even go further, I believe (I admit I could be wrong) that Orsini’s number #1 target is not a coach that has one foot out the door at his current job. That means I don’t believe it is Fran and I don’t believe it is Houston Nutt. This means SMU will be hiring a coach away from someplace else; somewhere were that coach, if not for SMU, would be coaching next year.

This course of action is not without its pitfalls. If I am right, we are obviously talking about SMU “ponying up” some serious funds. I have commented more than once that Orsini may very well get a couple of coaches raises and extensions from their current schools before he gets one to come to SMU. Another concern is that this almost certainly means waiting until the season is over. Right now, I believe there are three openings, with many more to come in the next few weeks. SMU can compete with some of those schools, but not all.

I will leave you with this, which I have said many times. Over the past 24 months, there have been two major openings in the athletic department: First the athletic director and then the men’s basketball coach. During each search, many SMU fans repeatedly wondered who SMU could ever get to take such a terrible job? The answer, in each case, was better than most people imagined. First, Orsini left a conference rival for the same position at SMU, and then former NCAA coach of the year Matt Doherty was hired to take over the basketball program. I expect this search to end no differently.


Anonymous said...

"The answer, in each case, was better than most people imagined."

I'm sorry but SMU fans seem to think that these two hires are slam dunks without any evidence to support this.

Orsini made the mistake of ignoring the past 5 years keeping Bennett around for one more year. What did he expect, Bennett to suddenly remember how to coach football?

As for Doh. We started out strong last season and spiraled late. Now we can hardly beat Northeastern Central Communnity College State yet Doh is hailed as such a great coach.

What SMU fans need to understand is that you can't ignore bad decisions made early just because you're so happy with the change in personel. -covok48

Anonymous said...

I am an Orsini fan. Financially he could not fire Bennett after last season. He was already paying out Tubbs' contract, plus that of Matt. He had not had time to massage the alums for money to do what he wanted to do.

As for the basketball team, Doherty inherited a mess, but is making great strides. All the talent this year, with the exception of Bamba Fall resides in his freshmen. So, what we have this year is a jv with one extra player. In two years, they will be doing just fine, maybe very very good.

Anonymous said...

I'll believe it when I see it.

Anonymous said...

I think all the names being thrown around for the football coach would be great. If they are truly looking for somebody who's coached before and had some success we'll be OK. Kragthorpe has been a more successful coach than Bennett. So has Nutt, Franchione, etc. I just want them to focus on having a winning team again. It's been so long.

Anonymous said...

Kragthorpe won't comment on SMU job:

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping for Coach Fran. He didn't work out at A&M, but he can get us back on the college football map.

Anonymous said...

Let's pray it is NOT Fran - hasn't he been exposed as a little shallow in the character department as well as having gotten too much credit for TCU's success - afterall, Patterson has managed to continue to keep TCU nationally relevant without LT.

Of the names thrown around (I think Kraigthorpe is null) let's pursue Johnson, Bowden.

Another thought - why hasn't anyone brought Norm Chow up - impossible to argue with his coaching credentials.

New thought and yes, it's ludicrus but hear me out - assure Spurrier that he'll be the highest paid coach in D1 for the next 3 years (contract automatically tops any new contracts signed each year) to come to SMU. This does 2 things - 1) clearly communicates to the recruits and alumni that the school is committed to being a top 25 program and 2) assures that SMU alumni will flood the school with contribution checks - imagine the money coming off the sidelines to participate in paying his contract. Hell, I'll send in a check every year and it has been some time... And before you laugh - Spurrier likes money and knowing he'll be recognized as the highest paid. He can dominate C-USA, get bigger and bigger bowl bids then SMU could move to the Big-12 (replace Baylor) and he can kick Mack Brown and Stupps around.