Coaching Carousel Fans Flames…Unnecessarily

Coaching Carousel Fans Flames…Unnecessarily


Other than wins, losses, schemes and playcalling, nothing inflames fan bases like coaching changes, hires and rumors.

West Virginia has gotten a double dose of this over the past two days with the departure of offensive coordinator Jake Spavital for the Texas State head coaching job, and with reports from Lubbock and Raiderland that current West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was interested in the open Texas Tech head coaching spot, but was denied an interview.

Predictably, those have fired numerous hot takes from multiple observers, especially from a West Virginia fan base that is as fractured as the U.S. Congress. Those who want coaching changes were happy to see Spavital go, while those who look at the Mountaineers’ offensive production the last two years weren’t thrilled. As is usually the case, though, those “aginners” were more vocal, so there has been perceived heat on Spavital, as well as on head coach Dana Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson.

Unfortunately, those immediate reactions, usually made without even a few moments’ reflection, dominate the airwaves today. Whether for or against Spavital, Holgorsen, the 3-3-5 or zone blocking, it only takes a few hundred tweets or a couple of memes to stir up a hornet’s nest. At some point, the original item, and its import, gets lost.

Perhaps, at some point in the future, society will evolve to the point where hot takes are frowned upon, and where more reasoned opinions, that take all factors into account, are the ones that hold sway. I’m not holding my breath, though.

* * * * * * *

The Holgorsen item brings up, at its core, notions of loyalty to an existing employer, with undertones of “if he doesn’t want to be here, then we don’t want him.” Again, WVU fans have fairly recent, and painful, experience in this area in the form of Rich Rodriguez, who was the poster child for how not to handle outside job offers..

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen encourages his team on the walk to the locker room

Such notions of loyalty, however, have long gone off the boards in most collegiate coaching jobs. As most every journalist and fan who covers college sports now acknowledges, it’s a business. Why, then, the fevered reactions to the fact that a coach is listening to another offer? Such information is certainly fodder for a report, but should it be a surprise? No.  But the report, with its undertones of a former coach reportedly being snubbed, play right into the hands of those looking to be outraged, or for material to play an angle on why a coach shouldn’t be retained.

Should Holgorsen, or his agent, be blamed for looking at other jobs? No. It’s the way of the free enterprise system. Was there one West Virginia fan that thought Bob Huggins was being disloyal as he wrestled with leaving Kansas State to come back to WVU? Again, no. Anyone that draws a distinction between the two is being intellectually dishonest. And if a son of the Mountain State turns his back on the state’s flagship institution, can anyone expect coaches with no ties to the state to do so?

Luckily, there’s one major player in all of this who doesn’t get swept up by initial emotional reactions. Director of Athletics Shane Lyons, who has been measured and reasoned when tackling decisions large and small concerning Mountaineer athletics, won’t get bent out of shape by a report such as this. He won’t overreact. He understands that coaches, who are in one of the most insecure jobs in the country, look to make their money when they can. Sure, it’s appreciable, but the window for doing so is quite short.

UPDATE: Lyons confirms that Holgorsen is wanted at WVU, and vice versa:

To sum it up, while reports of this sort may stir up debate and discussions from job worthiness to the loyalty factors, in the end they are a tempest in a teapot. They mean little in terms of current or future job security, which only comes down to one thing — winning.

Reinforcing that is a recent tweet from another old school coach, Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson, who announced his retirement earlier this week:

His statement about importance levels is probably true for him, but how many people share that opinion today? Ask 100 fans of any school, and 99 would probably disagree with the order in which he puts game results behind graduating and the teaching of student-athletes. As long as that’s the case, we’ll continue to see over-the-top reactions such as those that have resonated across the WVU football landscape this mid-week.

 

Home forums Coaching Carousel Fans Flames…Unnecessarily

This topic contains 9 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Kevin Kinder Kevin Kinder .

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  • #76000
    Kevin Kinder
    Kevin Kinder
    Muskets: 8,975

    Coaching Carousel Fans Flames…Unnecessarily Other than wins, losses, schemes and playcalling, nothing inflames fan bases like coaching changes, hire
    [See the full post at: Coaching Carousel Fans Flames…Unnecessarily]

    #76004

    JAL
    Muskets: 6,293
    Rank: Junior

    It is the way of the world to make every rumor a big story. Wonder how Collier would know both that Holgorsen desired the Tech job and Hocutt declined to interview him. Do athletic directors talk about who they decline to interview?

    #76008
    Kevin Kinder
    Kevin Kinder
    Muskets: 8,975

    I would doubt it, unless they are particularly close or have ties.

    Also, this update from Shane Lyons:

    #76013

    Ccteam
    Muskets: 85,854
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Not cool that Dana was outed (whether it is accurate or not) as being interested but not getting an interview at Texas Tech. Having said that, if it’s true that his agents floated the rumor hoping to leverage it to get an extension from WV, then he got what he deserved. I have nothing against coaches looking for better situations for themselves. I do it, and my job security is better than theirs. But if they are playing the rumor game to leverage a raise out of their current situation, then they get no sympathy from me when they get embarrassed.

    #76036
    Kevin Kinder
    Kevin Kinder
    Muskets: 8,975

    cc identifies an important point. Who leaked the info? Was it an agent playing the leverage angle? Was it someone inside TT that has an agenda, or a booster with some input that saw something going a way he didn’t like? Any of those are possibilities, and they all influence what to take from one bit of information — not to mention how accurate it might be.

    I agree with cc’s opinion here – no problem with coaches or their reps looking at other opportunities. But if it gets out, and it often does, you need to be up front about it. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear:

    “Yes, I talked with Enormous State about the head coaching job there. I am staying at Mid-level Tech.”

    #76047
    Butlereer
    Butlereer
    Muskets: 101,825
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    I see no harm in floating your name out there for a job back home …… if that’s where you ultimately want to be. Coaches and especially agents do this all the time. Agents do this without the knowledge of the coach. That’s their job. Dana’s agent’s job is to bring opportunities to the table for Dana every year. Bring opportunities and leverage for the next contract even if Dana doesn’t solicit them, that’s their job.

    Now, how they go about it makes a difference. RR’s agent is a sleezeball putting his name out there in public and forcing controversy at every turn. This hasn’t been the case with Dana or his agent. Even when he was going into his last negotiations with 1 year left on the contract we didn’t see him flying all over the country looking for the next job. Unlike RR whom we had to pull off the plane when he was going to sign his next bigger and better contract at his new school.

    #76049

    TonyAlto
    Muskets: 24,421
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    So what does Holgerson tell recruits?

    #76053

    Ccteam
    Muskets: 85,854
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Dana: “I’m staying at WV, plan to win a National Championship, and want you to help us achieve it.”

    #76082

    WVUVegas
    Muskets: 2,310
    Rank: Freshman

    My bet is his interest in Tech was simply to use as leverage vs Shane. His crew bungled it though. Hence the Monday morning denial that he was a candidate and yesterday’s story that he was interested. With such an early, emphatic denial from Tech that tells me he never had any shot. He was using a booster (or two) that wanted him as coach. One of those “sure, he would be interested” lines from the agent to get the story started that he had another option. Then take it to Shane. But Tech screwed him by acting so quickly. Hocutt had clearly identified Wells as his guy and wasn’t talking to any other candidates. Total misstep by Dana’s crew. Now he has to deny any “interest” to recruits/fans who now think he wants out.

    Shane should be pissed that Dana’s people have been including the line that there are tensions with he and Dana. Doing that as a way to answer the question “why would he be interested in a lateral move?” Oh, wait I see there are tensions with the AD. Makes sense. Helps make it more believable, so that fans start to think he’s leaving, people talk and AD feels a need to extend/keep him. If Shane offers an extension, even a 1 yr it will show you a lot about Shane. I don’t expect that though.

    #76085
    Kevin Kinder
    Kevin Kinder
    Muskets: 8,975

    Now, how they go about it makes a difference. RR’s agent is a sleezeball putting his name out there in public and forcing controversy at every turn. This hasn’t been the case with Dana or his agent. Even when he was going into his last negotiations with 1 year left on the contract we didn’t see him flying all over the country looking for the next job. Unlike RR whom we had to pull off the plane when he was going to sign his next bigger and better contract at his new school.

    Dana’s name has been put out in public, via backdoor info, to various jobs over the past couple of years, so I would not say that his situation is a 180 from RR.

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