Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A job I would never want

I don't know how many of you keep up with sports stuff, but if you do, you more than likely know that the worst job to have is that of head coach. Yeah, you make millions of dollars and if you're winning you're considered a genius, but the first sign of trouble and the fans and those that control your money will turn on you and the case could be very well that you're out the door before the end of the season.

Don't believe me? Let's look at the NBA. The season just started last month or so and already there have been 6...that's right 6, coaches fired. I don't really see how firing a coach at the beginning of a season is going to help. I'm not condemning or praising the decision to fire these coaches, but if I'm not mistaken all of them had barely gotten settled down into their job.

It's like what television networks are doing these days. They just want immediate success. No one has the time to build anything anymore. Next thing you know, players will be getting benched, or even worse kicked off teams after one bad game! It's ridiculous, if you ask me.

The NBA isn't the only place where coaches are on a carousel. All sports have this issue. I could go into a long, detailed, spewage on the topic, but I'm not informed enough about it. However, I will go into one specific case.

This year, Auburn University had a down year. The first in like 5-10 yrs (don't quote me on that). Because of that, their coach, Tommy Tubberville, was fired (though he maintains he resigned).

I have two thoughts on this. Tubberville was there 10 yrs, and with the ever changing face of college football, it could just have time for a change. Then I think of two of the elder statesmen of the college football coaching world, Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden who have been coaching since the Big

Back to Auburn...Tubberville leaves (under whatever the circumstance is) and they go on an exhaustive search. Finally they come to a decision to hire Gene Chizik, who while a very talented assistant coach/coordinator has not proven himself as a head coach. In his two year stint as head coach at Iowa State, I believe won between 3 and 5 games and lost 20. Somehow the Auburn people decided he's the best man for the job, though. Probably because he's an alumni.

I'm not going to sit here and say he is or isn't until it's been seen what he can or can't do, but with more qualified candidates out there, this makes no sense. It's like if you go in to interview for a job as a bank manager after having been a teller and the other candidates have all successfully run banks in the past. That's what this hire is like.

There are plenty that aren't happy with his hiring either. Former NBA star and Auburn alum, Charles Barkely has spoken out on this matter, going so far as to bring race into the mix.

Here's a bit of what Charles said:

"I think race was the No. 1 factor... You can say it's not about race, but you can't compare the two resumes and say [Chizik] deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst resume."

"I just thought Turner Gill would be the perfect choice for two reasons: He's a terrific coach and we needed to make a splash. I thought we had to do something spectacular to bring attention to the program. Clearly, if we'd hired a black coach, it would have created a buzz."

If you're not a sports fan, you're probably wondering why, right? Well, the hot candidate in college football is Turner Gill, an African-American who is currently the head coach at the University of Buffalo.

There was also something about Gill having a white wife being the cause for his not being hired. I doubt this was the reason, but since Auburn is in the state of Alabama, it wouldn't surprise me if that was in the back of their heads and subconsciously influenced their decision.

My guess is Chizik was hired because of his pre-Iowa State credentials and that he may have blown them away in the interview. If that's not the case, then I really can't find any logical explanation.

I don't know about the race thing, but I can guarantee you this, standards are high at Auburn already and with Nick Saban having rebuilt and established a dominant program at the University of Alabama (at least for now), the SEC being one of, if not THE toughest conference in college football, if Chizik doesn't come out of the gate strong come next fall, the fans will be calling for his head, and it probably won't be long before they have it.

We've all seen how being president of the U.S. has aged anyone that walks into that office. Let's see how gray and wrinkled Obama will look this time next year. It's a very stressful job. Well, being a coach just may be as stressful. I'm glad I didn't go into coaching!

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