Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Sports

What not to do when hiring Florida’s next football coach

Dear Scott Stricklin,

Guess being athletic director at Florida isnít always such a fun job, huh?

Youíre coming off a pretty rough week, firing Jim McElwain as your football coach and all. You did the right thing, but it wasnít easy handing a pink slip to a guy who was respectable 22-12 in less than three seasons. That took guts.

Now comes the really hard part: Finding a replacement

Iím sure youíre getting lots of advice on what to do next. Hire this guy. Hire that guy.

But instead of telling you what you should do, Iím here to suggest what you shouldnít do.

DONíT reminisce with a walk down memory lane.

Itís easy to remember the good old days of a man such as Steve Spurrier. Second acts are rarely a good idea. Once a guy has his name on the stadium, probably be best to leave him there instead of putting him in the sidelines.

DONíT get caught up in the jet stream.

What does that mean, exactly? One coach becomes the hot name in the rumor mill. Everybody gets excited about that name. And then you start to get eyes only for that candidate. Right now, that coach is UCFís Scott Frost. You canít find anyone to say anything bad about Frost. And maybe there is nothing bad about him. In fact, he might your next coach. But donít lock in on him. Keep your options open. The first name to pop into your head isnít always the best name.

DONíT be fooled by small success.

There are some good-looking, bright young coaches out there. Frost, for example. And Mike Norvell at Memphis. Donít overestimate their accomplishments.

Norvell is 15-6 as a head coach. Thatís a nice record. Nice, not excellent. And that 15-6 has been at Memphis. Letís be honest, itís the AAC, not the ACC. Heís beating up on Navy, UConn and Tulane.

Frost? Same thing. AAC competition. And the record hasnít been that great. Frost is 13-7 and his best win in a year and a half has been against ... uh, itís hard to find a best win. Unless you count a blowout of Memphis, that same Memphis from the AAC.

This isnít to say good coaches canít come from smaller schools. Urban Meyer was one of those guys. So was Brian Kelly.

But know who else was one of those guys? Skip Holtz. He tore it up at East Carolina and was a mess at USF. Now heís back where he belongs at a mid-major.

DONíT be fooled by limited success.

Itís easy to be attracted to a coach who suddenly has a couple of good victories against traditional powers. For example, Iowa Stateís Matt Campbell. He looks like he might have the chops to be a big-time coach, but heís the hot name right now because his Cyclones beat Oklahoma, which was No. 3 at the time, and TCU, which was No. 4.

How about you let the dust settle on the season before determining if those really were good victories. Maybe Oklahoma and TCU will turn out be not that good and those victories wonít be as impressive as first thought.

Campbellís Cyclones were 3-9 a season ago and have lost two games this season, to mediocre Texas and Iowa. Which means everyone has placed heavy emphasis on those victories against Oklahoma and TCU.

Itís always dangerous to look at victories in a vacuum.

DONíT like a guy just because you know him.

Mississippi Stateís Dan Mullen is a former Florida assistant. USFís Charlie Strong is a former Florida assistant. Just because you donít have to give a guy directions on how to the get to the stadium doesnít mean he will make a great coach. I boiled a hot dog once. I know how to get to the kitchen. Doesnít mean Iím a good chef.

Also, fitting into this category is Willie Taggart, the former USF coach. But just because he used to live a couple of area codes away doesnít mean he can develop a quarterback and be able to be Georgia and Tennessee every year.

DONíT fall for a coach just because heís a name.

Jon Gruden is a name. Everyone knows him. Everyone knows Chip Kelly, too. They were once great coaches ó emphasis on the word "were.íí Ask yourself why they arenít coaching now before deciding if they should coach again.

Look, Scott, your next head coach might be one the names listed above. Iím on record as really liking Kelly. Many think Mullen or Frost would be an excellent choice. And no matter who you pick, we wonít know until he actually takes over.

So good luck.

Only the future of the program rests on your decision.

Sincerely,

Tom Jones

P.S. Better you than me making this call.

Contact Tom Jones at [email protected] Follow @tomwjones.

Comments
Live from ACC Kickoff: A few stories to follow

Live from ACC Kickoff: A few stories to follow

CHARLOTTE — Top of the morning from the Queen City, where college football's talking season continues in earnest with the start of the annual ACC Kickoff.The two-day event, featuring the head coach and select players from all 14 ACC schools, be...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
SEC media days: Why Martez Ivey says this is the year Florida Gatorsí offense clicks again

SEC media days: Why Martez Ivey says this is the year Florida Gatorsí offense clicks again

ATLANTA — Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey knew the question was coming Tuesday during SEC media days.Is this the year the offense gets cranked up?"This is the only time I'm going to answer this question again," Ivey said. "Thi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Twitter controversy that marred All-Star Game

The Twitter controversy that marred All-Star Game

What had been a three-day feel-good All-Star celebration of baseball ended in some controversy on Tuesday night with Brewers reliever Josh Hader apologizing for a series of tweets from 2011-12 that contained racist, sexist and homophobic comments."Th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
MLB commissioner Manfred confident Rays owner is Ďgoing to getí stadium deal done

MLB commissioner Manfred confident Rays owner is Ďgoing to getí stadium deal done

WASHINGTON – Acknowledging both the challenges and urgency to work out a public-private financing plan, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday expressed extreme confidence in Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg to make a de...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Blake Snell settles down after giving up homer in All-Star Game

Blake Snell settles down after giving up homer in All-Star Game

WASHINGTON — Blake Snell's first All-Star experience started with, well, a bang.The first pitch the Rays left-hander threw, a 98 mph fastball, was knocked over the leftfield wall by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.Snell seemed a bit unsettled in...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, July 18

TODAYAutosTrucks: Eldora Dirt Derby qualifying7 p.m.FS1Trucks: Eldora Dirt Derby9 p.m.FS1BaseballTriple-A All-Star Game7 p.m.MLBCycling, Tour de FranceStage 118 a.m.NBCSNEtc.ESPY Awards8 p.m.ABCSoccerUSL: Charlotte at Cincinnati8 p.m.ESPN2WNBAIndian...
Updated: 9 hours ago
All-Star Game journal: Injured Wilson Ramos enjoys experience

All-Star Game journal: Injured Wilson Ramos enjoys experience

WASHINGTON — A strained hamstring kept Rays C Wilson Ramos from playing in Tuesday's All-Star Game, but not enjoying the experience of being there.Ramos, who played seven seasons with the Nationals, seemed to be cheered at every turn. Fans did ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
SEC media days: Can Dan Mullen fix Florida Gatorsí broken foundation?

SEC media days: Can Dan Mullen fix Florida Gatorsí broken foundation?

ATLANTA — When coach Dan Mullen evaluated the 4-7 Gators team he inherited, he saw a problem bigger than its quarterback play and more damning than a defense that produced the worst statistical season since World War II.He saw a program wi...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays Blake Snell ready for All-Star turn

Rays Blake Snell ready for All-Star turn

Rays LHP Blake Snell is ready for his first All-Star opportunity tonight, expected to pitch the third and possibly the fourth inning."I'm excited," he said on the field before the AL batting practice. "It's going to be fun. I've been looking forward ...
Published: 07/17/18
SEC media days: Dan Mullen on quarterbacks battle and transfers

SEC media days: Dan Mullen on quarterbacks battle and transfers

ATLANTA — The Florida Gators are up this afternoon at SEC media days. A few highlights from an early session with coach Dan Mullen and offensive lineman Martez Ivey, defensive lineman Cece Jefferson and linebacker David Reese:Mullen had no...
Published: 07/17/18