Well, it's official: Neil Callaway is the new head coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As I indicated earlier, I send my best wishes to Coach Callaway as we bid him farewell.
Well, that makes one campus of the University of Alabama to have found a new head football coach. . . . (Photograph from University of Georgia Athletic Association.)
I greeted the news of Coach Callaway's departure neither with sadness nor with gladness; he was not the coordinator I had hoped to see go, but, like Paul Westerdawg, I also was not anxious to have him stay. I agree with MaconDawg that the Red and Black are not likely to lose many---or, perhaps, even any---of the offensive linemen in their recruiting class on account of Coach Callaway's career move, so I do not consider that an area of concern.
Unsurprisingly, the Georgia Sports Blog is on top of this story, and Paul Westerdawg already has a list of possible replacements that includes the likes of Greg Adkins, Art Kehoe, Mac McWhorter, Hugh Nall, and Chris Scelfo.
Paul, you had me at "McWhorter." (Photograph from Online Athens.)
I would consider the hiring of either Coach Adkins or Coach Kehoe a good idea and I would consider the hiring of either Coach McWhorter or Coach Nall a great idea, but Paul expressed the legitimate concern that some or all of these prospects would not want to be in the awkward position in which Coach Callaway found himself . . . namely, being the nominal "offensive coordinator" while Mike Bobo was calling the plays.
It seems to me that the solution is to name Coach Bobo offensive coordinator, thereby giving him a title commensurate with the duties of his station, and to give Coach Callaway's replacement the title and responsibility of offensive line coach. At their present schools, Tennessee's Greg Adkins, Kentucky's Jimmy Heggins, Mississippi's Art Kehoe, Texas's Mac McWhorter, and Auburn's Hugh Nall all have the title "offensive line coach," so none of them would be taking a step down by accepting the same position at Georgia.
Mike Bobo . . . the O.C. (Image from Pop Art U.K.)
I only find serious fault with one of Paul Westerdawg's suggestions . . . namely, Chris Scelfo. As Paul notes, Coach Scelfo recently was relieved of his duties as the head coach at Tulane after eight seasons on the job, during which he guided the Green Wave program through a vagabond season in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. For that, Coach Scelfo is to be admired and commended.
However, Coach Scelfo was never a Georgia guy, he was a Jim Donnan guy. A Pelican State native who played center at Northeast Louisiana, Coach Scelfo became a graduate assistant at Oklahoma in 1988, working with the offensive line under Coach Donnan, who was then the Sooners' offensive coordinator.
When Coach Donnan left Norman to take over at Marshall in 1990, Coach Scelfo accompanied him to Huntington, where the young assistant served as offensive line coach (1990-1995) and, later, as offensive coordinator (1993-1995). Coach Scelfo remained a part of Coach Donnan's staff at Georgia, where he held the titles of assistant head coach and offensive line coach from 1996 to 1998.
When, at the end of the 1998 campaign, Coach Scelfo was given the opportunity to return to his native state to coach the Green Wave, he took it. Relations between Coach Scelfo's new school and his old school turned ugly when, after Coach Donnan was fired from his job at Georgia, Tulane backed out on a scheduled series in football between the Bulldogs and the Green Wave.
Raise your hand if you think Tulane's "scheduling conflicts" wouldn't have arisen if this guy had still been coaching in Athens in 2002. (Photograph from E.S.P.N.)
While I agree that Coach Donnan's teams took a clear turn for the worse following Coach Scelfo's departure from the Classic City, nothing else about Chris Scelfo makes him suited for a return engagement as Georgia's offensive line coach.
Unlike the other candidates Paul Westerdawg puts forward, Coach Scelfo, a former head coach and offensive coordinator at other schools, would be taking a step down by accepting a job as a position coach. His ties to the Peach State are limited to a three-year stint with the Red and Black that ended almost a decade ago.
Rightly or wrongly, Coach Scelfo probably feels that the 'Dawgs did Coach Donnan dirty by firing him after he compiled a 40-19 record in five seasons between the hedges. Rightly or wrongly, the University of Georgia Athletic Association probably feels, and many Bulldog fans (including me) definitely feel, that Coach Scelfo deliberately dealt dishonestly with Georgia, leaving the Classic City Canines in the lurch, schedule-wise, in a petty and underhanded act of revenge on behalf of his former boss.
Paul Westerdawg has assembled what is, on balance, a fine list containing many good suggestions. However, one of the options he proposes is heinously, horribly awful. If it were up to me, I wouldn't let Chris Scelfo back into the state, much less offer him another opportunity to coach at our flagship university.
If Chris Scelfo wants a job interview, might I suggest that Damon Evans agree to meet with him in Havana on New Year's Eve?
Coach Scelfo served Georgia well while he was here, but those bridges were burned after he left and I have no interest in rebuilding them. I admire what he did while holding the Tulane program together, but all ties between our team and that coach have been severed.
If Chris Scelfo wants to send a resume to Bristol so he can go back to working with Jim Donnan, fine; I can roll my eyes at his asinine on-air observations as easily as I can roll my eyes at those of his former boss . . . but Chris Scelfo's passport into Bulldog Nation has been revoked and it should not be renewed.
Fool me once, shame on you, Chris. Fool me twice, shame on me. We won't get fooled again.