Ah yes, the changing of jobs. The art of quitting and simotaneously finding another better (and sometimes higher paying) job. But in college football this year, it becames almost a trend. Say what you want about these coaches and their decisions, but in the end, its whats better.
First off I would like to talk about the former West Virginia, current Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez. Probably one of the premier, underrated coaches in college football, Rodirguez brought a fun, high performance offense to Morgantown, one which he coins as the Spread Offense with a run oriented play calling, the Spread Option. From 2001-2007, Rodriguez and the Mountaineers posted a 104-62 record, and being a former player and Grant town born guy, West Virginia thought they had their guy this time. Like many great tales, tey must come to an end..but in this tale, there is no ending, only a tragic fall.
After what many say was a blown season, coming within a game of a National Championship appearance, so close to the pinnacle of all the hard work, only to fall a field goal short. No doubt this all got to Rodriguez, as he left the Mountaineers, replaced with then Interim, Current head coach, Bill Stewart, in the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Many of the West Virginia alums were alright with the personal decision to go elsewhere, but the fans did not want to see their coach putting on a maze and blue hat that sports a big M on it. Fans sent death threats to him and his family from irate fans. Rodriguez said in an ESPN interview that he was shocked that people would go that far, saying that it was a job change, and everyone goes through it.
No Rich, it is not just a job change. If I were to tell my boss today that I was leaving and got hired somewhere else, I am more than sure they woukd have a scab just do my job, but this a town that is not used to the limelight, this is not USC, where if a O-man leaves for the NFL, gets replaced with another great one. Great coaches are seldom in this day and age, I mean come on people...do you think your going to find a Tressel on the streets theses days?
But WVU fans need to open their eyes and realize this...its just a game, football is a game. Not a way of life, lets face it, all of us writers do this because we love THE GAME. So death threats and things of that sort are totally unacceptable, this is not Steve Bartman guys, this is your former coach, he brought you all this immediate success and you reward him with those actions? Get a clue
My next coach is Bo Pelini, former LSU D-Coordinator, and current Nebraska Cornhuskers head football coach. One of the most storied programs in all of college football really put themselves in a good situation to win with this coach. Not only does he come from a powerhouse school in LSU, but a Nebraska Defensive coordinator in 2003 under Frank Solich, and a proven winner. Pelini (when Nebraksa's Defensive Coordinator) helped the Cornhuskers jump from the 55th ranked defense to the 11th in one year, and filed in for Solich in the 2003 Alamo Bowl win over Michigan.
Bo then went on to Oklahoma, then LSU, both storied programs, and he did not dissapoint. When Pelini was introduces as Nebraksa head coach 9 days after Tom Osbourne fired then coach Bill Callahan. Bo Pelini brings not only a good defensive mind to the job, but a warm smile and something Nebraska has every year...hope.
My final coach took the first one's job, Mr. Bill Stewart. Now before I state these numbers, remember they wont jump out at you. 9-25 record, coached a VMI, the most he had gotten before the VMI job was a assistant at Arizona State. But despite all of that, he really is a great person. There are the students of the game, like a Tressel who never stops thinking or conjuring up plays, then there is social coach, he's good but also a joker, like a Mark Mangino, but there are only a handful of people who truely love their job and show it.
Stewart is a West Virginia born and bred guy. He doesnt try to appeal to the media with anything flashy, just rugged and wants to get the job done and succeed at it, and that was the perfect ointment for the cut Rodruguez left. He had tears in his eyes following the Fiesta Bowl win, pulling of what some believe was an upset over the heavile favored Sooners.
He brought in abunch of former WVU players and coaches to be in his staff, and brought back the most important part of the offense, Pat White. Can Stewart recruit? 32nd ranked clas by Scouts.com
All of these coaches have something to bring to their new schools, whether it be class, knowledge of the game, a face for the program, or more. But one thing is certain, this was a crazy year for the job market