Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coach Watch Day 54: Fran and stuff

Yesterday was Franchione day, which followed Coker day.  It appears that there is no new news today.

I was surprised by the Franchione story.  Like many, I am not entirely sure how this and the Coker story came to light.  The Dallas Morning News never actually says Franchione interviewed or when the contact/discussion takes place.  I said a long time ago that Fran was trying to contact SMU.  The Dallas Morning News only says that ESPN says Coker interviewed and has no other information, including when such an interview took place.  I think logic would tell you that the Coker interview took place recently.

Despite being a former frog and former aggie, I don’t have near the animosity towards Fran that I do Coker, though I vaguely recall cursing his name on a cold rainy night at Ford Stadium in November 2000.  Coker’s Miami team was worse when he left it, though I realize it couldn’t have gotten any better.  They trended downward every year and there is no evidence he was capable of disciplining his players.  He led a team that ended up being an embarrassment on and off the field.  Fran, on the other hand, put together great staffs at New Mexico and TCU.  He built up New Mexico and TCU; people forget he won 10 games at Alabama and I am not that turned off by his coaching performance at A&M.  The next paragraph will annoy some aggies (Sorry, aggie pals).

A&M is a school with high expectations, but people forget that A&M has been trending downwards since 1998, which coincides with the arrival of Mack Brown.  R.C. Slocum’s last season was a disappointing no bowl 6-6 season in 2002. A&M was solidly behind OU and Texas in the Big XII South; lost to Tech two years in a row, the last years of RC in conference were 7-1, 5-3, 5-3, 4-4, 3-5.  While Fran had two sub .500 years at A&M, where is A&M today?  Arguably a little better, but A&M is not worse off today than it was under Slocum.  .500 in conference, two consecutive victories over Texas and still can’t beat Texas Tech (but that is a problem they have had for over 10 years).  I know that is faint praise:  “Fran didn’t make them worse,” but I think it is accurate.

The VIP newsletter doesn’t concern me.  It is the kind of thing nobody cares about when you are 8-4, but when you are not living up to expectations, it is a real issue.  

I still think Fran can recruit and put together a staff.  Fran, of all the mentioned candidates, in my opinion, is in the best position, to do good things at SMU.

A couple of follow up notes on my most recent posts.  Apparently, Coker only had three players die while he was head coach:  two car accidents and a shooting death, though at least one of the car accidents was alcohol related, there was another accidental shooting of a player by another player and an indicted felon was signed to a letter of intent (albeit the trumped up charges related to an incident at another school’s recruiting trip).  The “bludgeoning” took place while Butch Davis was head coach and Coker was offensive coordinator.

Also, I forgot to mention something else about recruiting.  It takes more than a head coach to recruit.  It takes an entire staff.  You can’t reasonably hire a coach, especially a coach like Coker who has been out of football, and expect him to have an entire staff immediately and ready to recruit.  That is one thing that the other two available jobs have over SMU in this process-both are bowl teams with staffs in place where some assistant coaches hope/expect to be retained.  At SMU, the entire staff was fired; they are gone.

I am working on a "What I would do if I were Orsini" post.  I am sure everyone is waiting with baited breath.  I halfway expect SMU to hire a coach before I am finished.


Anonymous said...

Fran stabbed TCU and Alabama in the back by the way he left. He lied to both. Moving on to another job is almost expected anymore, but he showed how classless and gutless he is in his behavior at both. He never manned up and was upfront with either his players or the school administration.

At TCU he left after telling them how he loved Fort Worth and was so happy at TCU and intended on retiring there, blah, blah, blah. And, he had signed a contract extension only days earlier. At Alabama he was a total snake and lied his ass off when asked about his interest in the aggies.

Before he got axed at a&m, he was a hypocrite and a liar. SMU does not need that.

Anonymous said...

They are ALL liars. They are ALL looking for the next best job that pays more money. Well, unless they're about to retire.

Don't kid yourself. The current TCU coach would leave in a heartbeat if Alabama called. So would the next one, and the next one.

He left Alabama because he had an opportunity to coach at a flagship university in Texas. Those opportunities don't come very often. His recruiting ties were all in Texas, going back to his New Mexico and SWTS days. Give the man credit for wanting to coach in Texas.

Let's be real here, people. The guy made aggressive career moves. He struck while his name was still hot. Moves like this are made in the corporate world all the time and nobody blinks an eye. When you're being paid 2 mil a year, you're in big business, not just blowing a whistle and giving rah-rah speeches.

Anonymous said...

Then you should call the next post "Great Expectations." It's taken this long, why should the search end so soon. I expect we'll see your next post before we see a coach.

Anonymous said...

Fran will be hired and his son, Brad (current HC at Blinn JuCo) will be on his staff -- which is a good thing. Fran will be great for SMU, believe it.

diehard mustang said...

I left the following comment on the SMU AD blog in response to Orsini's 3-week-old blog update, but it has yet to be published (they have to "screen" comments, you know). At any rate, here it is:

Mr. Orsini,

Your last coaching search update was now close to 3 weeks ago, and it provided almost no useful information to those who even care about SMU football. Would it be possible to enlighten the few fans that support this program about what in the heck is going on with this (by appearances) fiasco of a coaching search?

I am constantly embarrassed by the things that our athletic department/football program--the face of our university to many--manages to goof up. This marathon search is just one more in a long line of embarrassments. It appears from the silence and lack of activity that either no one wants to coach at SMU or that you and the search committee are unsure of yourselves. Either way, SMU, my alma mater, looks like a complete buffoon in the world of college football. Those who know me and my affiliation with SMU football have asked me on numerous occasions why we can't seem to get it together.

At this point in the game, I do not foresee anything close to a decent recruiting class for 2008, and perhaps for 2009. We have also missed out on any quality Junior College transfers by waiting so long to choose a coach. I also wonder what sort of communications and assurances are being given to the few recruits that we have managed to land a verbal commitment from about the state of our program. To me, it is an utter disgrace to still be looking for a new coach 10 weeks after firing our last one. And I am very concerned as usual about the next 4 years of SMU football.

It is not as though quality candidates are not, and have not, been available. Due to your silence, one can only guess, but it appears as though names such as Terry Bowden, Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett, Butch Jones, Mike Shula (and the list goes on and on) have been summarily dismissed. Any one of these coaches would have had us in a position to not only shock the college football world had they been hired, but would have also been able to assemble a staff and start recruiting weeks ago.

The national media has apparently given up on or has become indifferent to our quest to find a suitable coach. As usual, SMU fades into oblivion on the national stage. Apparently this feeds into your plan.

But please understand this, Mr. Orsini: There are many, many supporters of SMU who don't appreciate being kept in the dark for so long and made to feel, once again, like idiots for caring about SMU football. SMU has lost many supporters over the last 20 years due to its ineptness in athletics, and I am guessing your handling of this search has caused several more to defect. It certainly has not added any fans.

Three final summary comments: (1) Hire a coach. (2) Embrace SMU athletics/football supporters through dialogue and openness. (3)End the embarrassment that is SMU football...(see no.1 for more info.)

Anonymous said...

don't under est the ability of coach coker to assemble a great staff several coaches from various schools are ready to join coker SMU would lucky to have coker and his staff

Anonymous said...


It's been 10 days and nop update on your perspective. You're acting like SO.