Randy Edsall Over Mike Leach: Why the Safe Hire Is Never the Right Hire

Corey WieseContributor IIJanuary 4, 2011

Maryland Gets Cold Feet on Leach's Pirate Ship

Three days after Mike Leach's interview with Maryland was said to "have gone well" Maryland jumped off Leach's pirate ship. Even though AD Kevin Anderson liked the idea, it was bad news for Maryland, because when you jump off Leach's ship you land in shark infested waters, luckily Randy Edsall rowed by in a rubber life raft and picked up Maryland, just in time to capsize.

What Conservative Athletic Directors and College Presidents Fail to Realize.

You are trying to make money and build interest in your program. No matter what you think the only reason you are looking for a coach in the first place is to shake things up and bring in a coach who can build a national championship caliber team, so you can make more money. The brass of any university is selfish, they want more and more money, and yet they are so thickheaded that they don’t see that exciting football trumps traditional football a billion to one.

People want fast paced excitement, high scoring games, and a highlight reel result on almost every play. It’s the kind of excitement people crave, people rush to their televisions to catch every last second of it. It’s also the kind of excitement that makes the average Joe decide, “I’m gonna spend my hard earned money on a ticket to see that team play, because watching this on television could never do it justice. I need to be in the stands to feel the excitement.” By making the safe traditional hire, all you’ve done is kill any potential excitement in fans.

Who cares if you beat a team 7-3 with Randy Edsall, nothing would have happened in the game that would even encourage me to watch the entire game or care about the team. But if you hired Mike Leach and won 45-14 and I would have been glued to the TV the whole time and probably would have bought a bunch of merchandise because I was so excited. Winning isn’t enough, how you win is more important to fans. Why should we take time out of our daily lives to watch something that isn’t spectacular? Are you ADs and college presidents so thickheaded that you don’t see that?

Winning Cures All ills.

Once you get Leach in and get his offense flying high once again, people will forget the accusations against Leach; because most people already have. Anyone who actually looked into the evidence in Leach’s case would realize the entire situation was blown way out of proportion.  And while Leach tries diligently to restore his reputation, which was torn down by Craig James and his buddies at ESPN, he gets publicly chastised for doing it.

At this point, no more negative publicity can possibly be generated around Leach, either Leach wins his case or he doesn’t, and that result is meaningless to any university anyway.

To all the Mike Leach haters out there:

You have to admit that his innovative offense was interesting, to say the least.  It beats the hell out of all the run 3 yards and fall down offenses out there, and for every prolific passing offense in college football, Leach made them look pedestrian. Leach’s offenses put up numbers that were so spectacular they made many college football teams’ statistics look like they belonged to high school teams.

Historical Figures are Remembered because They Didn't Play It Safe

Everything about Mike Leach screams innovative and outside-the-box, however these are the same terms that scare away potential employers. Universities continually make the nice, safe, inside-the-box hire and have to start over within five years, if not sooner. Think about this for a second, take a look at history overall, the historical figures we remember are not the ones who played it safe or colored inside the lines, for instance: Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton , Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, or Pablo Picasso. Each of them were innovative thinkers, none of them fell into the groove of old world belief is truth because it has always been considered to be.

This is not just a testament to what Leach’s innovative thinking can create, but a challenge to any conservation AD or University president out there, don’t allow yourself to be conventional. The safe horse is too slow to win the race, so why bet on the safe horse? In the end, who cares what others think of you? The winner is still the winner, even if the winner’s friends don’t like how they accomplished it. Anyone who’s ever accomplished anything did it their way. People who aren’t conventional are tough to beat, because they aren’t predictable. In a world of boring football, the prolific, gutsy, gun slinging trendsetter is king.

Why Acting Out of Cowardice Doesn't Bode Well For You

One good thing can come out of cowardice, you live to fight another day, or in this case you lose to win another day. When you make the safe choice, a hire that falls under the radar, it’s almost as if you are accepting mediocrity, and letting your fan base know, "We said we did, but we don't really care if you watch our team."

Somewhere along the line Athletic Directors started valuing their own job security over winning potential, which a-lack-there-of ends up getting them fired anyway. Athletic Director Kevin Anderson is the gutless fool who decided that stoking the fire that keeps the Maryland engine burning was just not safe, the fire could grow too hot.

It basically came down to, he felt Edsall was more enthusiastic about his ability to drive the Maryland program into the ground, and couldn't say no. If you're gonna ask Leach to butter up to you, in order to get a job, you must not like blowing out the competition all that much.

Anderson made it clear that he took input from the search committee and President Wallace D. Loh, but this decision to hire Edsall was his decision, meaning that Anderson’s fate is now linked with Edsall's. Pity, if I was betting all my money on a boxer in a heavyweight fight, I’d like to have something more to lean on than he’s enthusiastic about boxing. Do you want a precision gunslinger or a suck up cheerleader?

The safest thing an AD can do is swing big and go for the homerun, at least then if things didn’t work out they could walk out with their head held high knowing they didn’t do the gutless thing and make the safe hire, because they were afraid of what people might think of them.

The Real Losers in This Deal are Maryland Alumni and Maryland Fans

Former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen went 9-4 last season behind a freshman of the year quarterback and was the ACC coach of the year. Fans were hoping that firing a coach who had shown real promise would benefit them because they would get a coach who could bring real excitement and a record of success. They we're given Randy Edsall. This has left many Maryland Alums livid and unwilling to contribute any money to a school that can't even invest in it's own success.

In Conclusion:

To any wise University President, Chancellor, or Athletic Director, don't make a move just because it is conventional. Winners take chances, winners are gutsy, and winners don't let tradition dictate what they will do. Leach has no downside, who doesn't have baggage? Don't be such a spineless wimp, because doing that will get you fired anyway.

Always put the fans first, because they are the ones who keep football going. Honestly, if you want those stands full, you better put something on that field that will make people demand a ticket, if not, we have better things to do.

For anyone doubting that Mike Leach is innocent, read my article showing the facts and videos that weren't shown on ESPN. After reading it, you'll see things differently.



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