Two thoughts...First as the previous poster pointed out, the Georgia job not coming open kept Smart in Tuscaloosa. Thanks, Mark.
Second...I formerly believed Alabama was not the spot for Head Coaching OJT. I now believe it's something of a a crapshoot whenever you hire a HC at a place like Alabama.
Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma and TCU have all had sustained success with HCs in their first HC job. Additionally, David Shaw is a newbie at Stanford, as are Charlie Strong at Louisville, and Will Muschamp at Florida.
Before becoming the Prince of Los Angeles at USCw, Pete Carroll was a twice failed NFL HC.
Before spectacularly flaming out in Tuscaloosa, Mike Price was a successful HC at a previously-woeful Washington State.
Before folding under the pressure of a big-time program, Dennis Franchione was a highly successful HC at multiple places. We all know how that ended in a lonely press conference in College Station.
And lest we get too hubristic, Gene Stallings was a twice-fired HC, one of those times being at his alma mater.
Point of all this being, whereas I formerly thought previous HC experience was non-negotiable at a place like Alabama, I no longer think that way. There just isn't enough evidence to back it up.
Last edited by 4Q Basket Case; November 30th, 2012 at 09:24 PM.
Undefeated World Champion Threadkiller
Also, several of the programs you mentioned aren't top-tier jobs. TCU and Louisville certainly aren't - they're exactly the HC training grounds that everyone is referring to. The jury is certainly still out on Muschamp as well.
There is plenty of evidence to back up the assertion that hiring a first time head coach at an elite program is a huge risk.
Last edited by JeffAtlanta; December 1st, 2012 at 10:03 AM.
"I'm just a simple plowhand from Arkansas, but I've learned over the years how to hold a team together, how to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they've got one heartbeat, together, a team."
#3 Georgia with Mark Richt
#4 Florida with Will Muschamp
#5 Orebon with Chip Kelly
#6 K-State with Bill Snyder (of course, he's been there since 1089, with a hiatus of a few years somewhere in there)
#8 Stanford with David Shaw
#11 Oklahoma with Bob Stoops
#12 Nebraska with Bo Pellini
#13 Florida State with Jimbo Fisher
#14 Clemson with Dabo Swinney
Plus, Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State is at #23, and was a whisker from the BCSNCG last year.
And that doesn't count Gary Patterson at TCU, who's having an off year after a lot of success in 2011 and earlier.
Mike Price and Dennis Franchione had successful HC tenures elsewhere and ended badly due to personality issues.
Howard Schnellenberger drank himself out of the Oklahoma job after turning Louisville around and winning an NC at Miami when they were about to shut the program down for lack of success on the field.
The hugely successful Marshall coach (name escapes me at the moment) flamed out at Georgia, and is now facing prison time for fraud.
Bobby Petrino is a classic example of a hugely talented coach whose personal character issues make him a huge risk -- does a leopard ever really change his spots?
My whole point is that there's a lot of risk whenever you hiring a new coach, almost no matter his background. We got a HUGE break when the sun and moon and stars lined up just right and we had an essentially riskless home run hire with Saban.
You're absolutely correct when you say there are a lot of first-time HCs who have fallen on their faces (see Mike Dubose, Mike Shula, Ron Zook and Sylvester Croom). But there are also a lot of previously-successful HCs who failed at a new gig (Mike Price and Dennis Franchione, to name just two).
I don't really understand why, but it seems that in recent years there have been a lot of highly successful first time HCs. With that track record, I just no longer see previous HC experience as the absolute requirement I once did. Experience is good, but it's no guarantee of success. Lack of experience is something to overcome, but it doesn't guarantee failure.
Undefeated World Champion Threadkiller
ABC Birmingham 33/40 reporting tonight that Kirby Smart is interviewing with Auburn this coming week. DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THIS NEWS!
Wow, this probably has been posted but I didn't see it.
You think he is "humoring" them or would he really take this job? Probably a pretty good gig overall as long as they don't get in trouble with the investigations.
I highly doubt he would go there, but you never know.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! - Isaiah 5:20
I hope it just gets him a raise here only. I know he will take a head coaching job one day, but just DO NOT want him to go to Auburn, of all places. It just seems so wrong....