I know I’ve been talking about football a lot lately, and I didn’t plan to tonight. I may still blog about something else a little later, but I couldn’t let this pass.
Yesterday was a rather bloody day for head college football coaches. I understood all of the dismissals (to some degree) but one.
Southern Mississippi head football coach Jeff Bower “resigned” yesterday. He had been the head coach of the Golden Eagles for 17 years, and counting time as a player and assistant coach, had been with the university for almost 30 years. He has had regular opportunities for more prestigious and better paying jobs, but has always remained faithful to his alma mater.
Southern Mississippi has been a good mid-tier team with a fistful of conference titles. They go bowling regularly, and they jump up and beat a big dog occasionally. They haven’t had a losing season since 1993. They went 7-5 this season, and Bower will coach them in the Papajohns.com Bowl.
My question to Southern Mississippi athletic director Richard Giannini: just who the hell do you think Southern Miss is supposed to be? I’m reminded of Steve Lawrence in the sauna in The Blues Brothers when Jake tells him they need “five thousand bucks fast”: “Five thousand dollars? Who do you think you are, the Beatles?!”
You’ve jettisoned the best coach you could have: a fellow with sufficient enthusiasm and ability to keep you winning, but whose loyalty to you was far greater than any ambition beyond your campus he may have had. This is the man you’ve shown the street. Congratulations.
So who are you going to get now? Are you now going to land a superstar hire from whom you will expect a national championship within five years? Ha! You might be the first head job for someone who is currently a good assistant, but I’ll tell you this: if he’s got a national championship in him, he won’t win it at Hattiesburg. He’ll be gone for more money and better facilities (and a BCS conference, naturally).
To Coach Bower: You are a class act, and my best to you, sir. I wish you much success. I’ll be a fan of wherever you coach in 2008.
To Southern Miss: I wish you dolts the same pox I wished on Nebraska when they fired Frank Solich. You’ve made an incomprehensibly bad decision, and several rotten years are all but guaranteed. You deserve them. Rest assured, we are pointing and laughing.