Now that Missouri has parted ways with head coach Barry Odom and have begun the search for a new football coach, it may be time to come up with some simple rules to abide by.
1. You have no idea on who the next coach will and should be. While everyone has their list, its mostly of the copycat variety where you heard it from someone else who in some cases knows less than you do.
2. Can we stop talking about a local guy, son of the program or a hot coordinator at a program where they have had a slight improvement? For Missouri to run and hire a son of the program and University, the recent hiring’s of Kim Anderson and Barry Odom should pump the brakes on that notion of thinking that works. Let’s get away from the idea that because a guy who is a “hot” coordinator is the answer. Reason being he is perhaps coaching better players than what Missouri has to offer as we speak. He may be able to recruit them to the program, he may not. Better have an idea before you offer him the job.
3. Hiring a “big time coach”. Hey that’s a great idea. One problem here. Why would any big-time coach want to come coach at Missouri? Its history of it being a championship program is shaky at best. If not for Gary Pinkel putting the program on the map, Missouri would have never seen or heard of an invitation to join the SEC. Now that they are in it and he is gone, beating the bottom of the conference has now become a challenge. If you are waiting of the likes of the unemployed big-name coaches rolling into Columbia to save the day, it may be a long wait. Let’s throw in the idea that they are on the sideline for a reason. A reason that could create greater scrutiny that Mizzou fans may not have the stomach for after their last set to with the NCAA.
4. Great guy and interview. Spare me please. How many fast talkers, head nodders and nice guys on the surface do we encounter via media outlets only to learn that he can’t coach. Please, no more ah shucks guys who’s excuses after a loss eventually have him hear one season too long. Media guys… spare us of the sentimental favorites. Let’s hope they can find a coach who can recruit, coach up young people, run a clean program and has a professional approach of accountability. Anything else is why Missouri is in a coaching search now.
5. Be prepared to pay. The bigger question here is should Missouri even be in the SEC? I know it’s a question you may not want to hear but when you rank near the bottom on salaries, facilities and other competitive components, you ask your can Missouri really to compete? More money is needed, and everyone seems to be waiting around for someone to write a bigger check all the time. In this case if you want to make this an attractive job, you are going to have to spend some money. No more cheap hires as you are getting what you have paid for in the last basketball and football hires.
6. Can we hire a coach with legitimate experience? I go back to the “hot coordinator” notion for a bit. In hiring it’s not a bad idea in looking at the entire body of work to make sure winning on all levels is something the next coach has done. Coaching tress are they talk of the day but that has not always worked out. I will use the NFL example of Bill Belichik. His coaching tree of assistants has not faired well in the past. Not say that his most recent branch of young coaches will not be successful, but can Missouri roll the dice on hope here? If you look at the college tree you would think Nick Saban but as his staff is ever changing what coach has been there long enough to even learn how to win on a big-time level?
7. Let’s hope that the next coach has done his homework. Understanding the history of Missouri football and athletics can give a woodpecker a headache. The multiple excuses (some bogus) on why Missouri cannot win the big one let alone compete on a consistent basis one that is somewhere between comical and frustrating as the stone age continues to haunt Missouri. Coach will need to have an answer. Mine would be to hell with the past. New day, new time. Anyone who wants to tell him how it used to be, and you need to know this person and that person will be asked to leave the room. Missouri has no time for revisionist historians to demand a seat at the table. Know how to find the local players but if they are not top shelf athletes, pass on them. Take the heat early but to clutter up a roster of players who cannot take you to the next level will have you being the next coach getting fired.
8. Finally, for all of those who have no idea how a coaching search works should step back and pay an attention. It can be more complicated than some may think as if any coach is worth youth hiring, it probably means someone else is looking at him too. Missouri will have to recruit their next coach as they are working from a slight disadvantage with no real history, no real fan support compared their conference rivals and perhaps no money to get into the game. Athletic Director Jim Sterk says that will not be a problem. I guess we will see on that one. The coaching search game is an interesting one that is ever changing as coaches with good agents want more control and that will be hard for some to accept. In Missouri’s case, they may not have a choice. My advice for everyone is get out of the sand box and allow the people who have a better clue than most do their job. A job they may know better than the ones who question the approach. Its is not as simple as it appears on the surface. Now we can let the search begin.