By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
I started thinking about this last week, then found myself in a lukewarm debate on Bleacher Report about how prestigious the Notre Dame coaching job is.
One dude called it the most prestigious position in the entire world, and it didn't sound like he was exaggerating.
I think that's a bit of a stretch, but it's certainly one of the plum jobs in all of sports. If you're winning, that is. If you're not, as Charlie Weis found out Monday, it's a bushel of sour, rotten, brown apples.
Last week, in between gobbles, I wondered how I'd prefer to earn a living if my choices were:
Notre Dame football coach
Kentucky basketball coach
Now, before you sign up to play QB for Dallas, with its acclaim, adulation, and endless supply of beautiful women, take an objective look at the four jobs above.
Look beyond the material possibilities and really consider which job you think would give you the best combination of a challenging and rewarding work environment, the best opportunity for success, the mental health and happiness for you and your family, and whatever other factors that key into your decisions to pursue certain jobs.
Notre Dame Football Coach
Growing up in Ohio, I loved the Buckeyes, but the college I heard about most after OSU was Notre Dame.
The Irish have long been the most scrutinized college football team in America, regardless of whether good news, bad news, or no news is coming out of South Bend. That type of microscope, coupled with pressure from the media, the university, alums, Catholics, fans, and to a degree NBC, among other sources, is not for the squeamish.
Could you handle it?
Kentucky Basketball Coach
The microscope, pressure, and expectations here are similar to those at Notre Dame. These are high-profile gigs on a national level, but because, in either position, your office is in small-town, Middle America, you are the biggest of fish in the smallest of puddles.
The likelihood that you'll own Lexington if you do the job right is stronger than the likelihood you'll own South Bend, where a 10-2 record would have saved Weis' job, but still left many whimpering about those two losses.
You are in charge of the most celebrated franchise in all of sports. Your team has won more championships than any other. Your logo, your history, and your pinstripes are as intimidating as they are famous.
You've retired more jerseys than most teams have won World Series. Your owners will buy you as many gourmet groceries as you need, you just need to cook the dinner and tolerate some occasional interference in the kitchen.
You also must answer to a relentless band of reporters, each of whom will leave no garbage can lid unturned in the world's largest media market, trying to make a story out of nothing. Do not underestimate the impact that will have on your ability to live your daily life.
There seem to be two key requirements for this job: Be great, and be a savvy PR guy. Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman fulfilled those demands perfectly and they are in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Tony Romo, who many felt just two years ago was the next Brett Favre, will be known only for his off-field dalliances until he wins his first playoff game. Once he does that? He'll just need to win a Super Bowl or three.
No doubt there are many perks to the gig, but the everything's-bigger-in-Texas approach especially applies to the expectations and the pressure.
If I had to pick, I'd take the Kentucky basketball job.
I think the fewer people you have to coach and supervise, the more likely you are to have success that derives directly from your teaching, which would give me the most professional satisfaction. Also in a smaller circle, you're less likely to have one of your own find himself in some sort of off-field controversy, which sadly, would be a very real concern for me.
Lexington and South Bend are smaller towns, but I prefer the horse country in Kentucky, and I wouldn't feel the guilt of an entire religious denomination if I had unprotected, premarital, adulterous sex with Ashley Judd.
Finally, and I think most importantly, I'd much rather coach a team in the Final Four than risk botching the hold on a game-winning field goal attempt in an NFL playoff game.