I'm sure many people's Christmas lists start out with an LCD TV, iPod, golf clubs, laptop, digital camera, blu-ray player, or the like. Well, this year I think I am going to branch out from your standard consumer electronics and ask for...a football coach.
That's right: just one successful, experienced, well spoken, X's and O's knowing football coach. Can you do that, Santa?
It's been a week since the Auburn Tigers cut ties with head coach Tommy Tuberville. A week. Seven days. Not long, right?
Wrong. With each passing day it seems as though Auburn and athletic director Jay Jacobs continue to lower their standards, lose recruits, and provide comedic relief to college football fans around the country. You can hear the laughter from Tuscaloosa to Athens when they see "Auburn interviews Patrick Nix" scrolling across the bottom line.
On a day when Mississippi State hired Dan Mullen, the offensive coordinator that was already behind one national championship at Florida and has brought them to another, Auburn's most recent interviewees include Derek Dooley, Rodney Garner, and the aforementioned Nix. Who?!? One can only guess that Terry Bowden, Brother Oliver, and Rush Propst will be next.
No disrespect to Nix, Garner, and Dooley: They may turn out to be good head coaches one day, but none of them have made enough noise to deserve a look from Auburn. Not when the Tigers just let go a coach who won 85 games in 10 seasons in the SEC.
By the way, Dan Mullen, have you ever been to Starkville?
I actually have. Good luck.
No matter where you stood on the Tommy Tuberville firing (that is what it was—just ask Tommy's mother), the ensuing coaching search has produced names that resemble a UAB coaching search rather than an Auburn search. As a War Eagle supporter, one has to be concerned.
Sure, you heard names like Mike Leach, Houston Nutt, Jimbo Fisher, Paul Johnson, Will Muschamp, and lesser known, but no doubt up and coming, Turner Gill to start with, but those names have since faded—only to pave the way for a ragtag group of inexperienced no-names.
Earlier this week members of Auburn's student body marched from the new student center to the lawn of the president's mansion in support of Tommy Tuberville. Tommy Tuberville was a good football coach, but come on now. As a student, when I received the Facebook invite to join the protest, I have to admit I chuckled, texted a few of my friends asking if they had seen it, and RSVP'd "not attending."
But as the sun sets each day on this Jay Jacobs "coaching search," trying to bring back Tommy Tuberville is looking better by the interview.
It was assumed by some, if not most, that when Auburn let Tuberville go that they had already done their homework and had a list of four or five names who were interested. From that list would come the next head coach of the Auburn Tigers. That has not been the case, and as the days begin to add up, the Tuberville firing makes less and less sense.
Maybe Jay Jacobs is just a puppet for super-boosters Bobby Lowder and Jimmy Raines. But even if that is the case, to see the ambitious Lowder target the likes of Nix and Dooley has to raise some questions as to what is really going on behind the scenes at Auburn.
All of that being said, it is almost impossible to grade a coaching search midway through. All's well that ends well. Case in point: Two years ago around this time, Alabama had fired Mike Shula after a fifth straight Iron Bowl loss and made a heavy run at Rich Rodriguez (there were reports that Rodriguez had accepted the job), only to have him leave Mal Moore and the Tide high and dry.
The Bamers were worried, but everyone knows the end of that story. Bama rebounded and ended up getting "some guy" who coached the Dolphins.
So as questionable as Jacobs' interviews have been thus far, all is not lost—at least not yet.