Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Coach apparent

Wednesday November 19, 2008

I suppose I should add my congratulations to Bulldog alum Will Muschamp on the occasion of his impressive promotion and raise. Some will be disappointed that he won’t be coming back to Athens in some sort of coaching capacity, but we’ve been just fine when he’s on the other sideline lately. I understand that they are making the move with Muschamp’s career trend line in mind, but is he who they would hire if there were a vacancy today? I doubt it.

I do find it interesting that among the universal “no-brainer” reaction to this announcement that there hasn’t been much discussion raised over one issue.

It was only a week or two ago a report from the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport was all over the sports news. The biggest item getting play from that report was the number FOUR – the number of black Division I head football coaches.

Of course the coach-in-waiting thing isn’t necessarily a barrier to improvement in this area – Joker Phillips at Kentucky is Prince Charles to Rich Brooks’ Queen Elizabeth. But as long as the number of black head coaches remains an issue, will the practice of naming a successor beforehand come to have the appearance of a way to get around a more thorough interview process without appropriate attention given to minority candidates? Will groups like the BCA begin to speak up about the practice?

Anyway, it’s not even a given that Muschamp will end up with the head coaching job. Sure, he has a nice raise and the promise of the top job when it becomes available, but I don’t see this move as much more than a way for Texas to lock up a promising coordinator. Muschamp could still leave whenever he likes, but now it’s likely not to be for another coordinator position, and it would have to be one heck of a head coaching opportunity to renounce the throne in Austin. For now, it means that Tennessee and Clemson can go pound sand. Down the road, we’ll see.

I made the call back at the beginning of the year that one of these things is going to happen sooner or later to one of these coach-in-waiting deals.

  • The program fires the current staff before the old coach has a chance to step down, leaving the successor without a job he assumed was his.
  • The fan base grows weary of the outgoing coach and everything about the old program. The successor is seen as a slipcover on worn-out furniture.
  • The successor loses luster as an assistant before the transition can take place, leaving a program stuck with a guy they didn’t even want as an assistant.

None of them seem very likely right now when applied to Texas, but Mack Brown is still a relatively young guy to be making this move. We’ll see how the fans feel about Brown and Muschamp in five to ten years.

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