Posted by: furmanbisher | November 20, 2008

A Long Wait in the Wings

Far be it from me to get involved in Texas football politics at this distance, but haven’t the Longhorns gone out of their way to open a can of worms? That is, anointing the next head coach while the sitting coach has eight years left on his existing contract? Not only is the appointee right there in Austin, but there are other complications not given to staff pacifism. These are the details: Mack Brown has had a nice run at Texas. He has won a national championship. He has even learned how to beat Oklahoma, which is essential to the health of a Longhorns coach. He is only 57 years old. (Joe Paterno has coached into his 80’s, and Bobby Bowden is on the threshold.) Mack is in good health. He is popular with his constituents. He runs a clean shop.

So why at this stage of another joyful run, No. l in some quarters, should DeLoss Dodds, the athletics director, call a meeting and announce that the next head coach at Texas will be Will Muschamp—when the time comes to hire one. Beg your pardon, Will who? And why?

Muschamp was a defensive back at Georgia, and has coached around. He was at Auburn a year, but apparently he and Tommy Tuberville didn’t hit it off, so to speak. He landed at Texas just this year, and in this time has made his mark. His salary was $425,000 until his early anointment was announced, then it was bumped up to $900,000. When coaching vacancies come about, his name does often appear. With Tuberville teetering at Auburn, perhaps Texas decided it was time to nail him down before the War Eagles called. But with eight years to go on Brown’s contract? He says he’s not planning to retire soon—or get fired, presumably. “I have absolutely no thought of quitting at all.” So?

What about his other assistants, who have been there before Muschamp showed up? Some older than Muschamp, who is 37? How do they deal with their cohort who will eventually be their boss? Muschamp is widely projected as a hot number in coaching, but can such a hot number be expected to wait patiently in the corner until Mack Brown takes his leave, or is asked to?

This is weird stuff to me, especially in a field as volatile as college football coaching, where one season you may be Urban Meyer and the next, you may be Phil Fulmer.


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