The holiday season is fast approaching and the coaching silly season is in full force. I see no reason not to combine the two. So, in the spirit of giving I am here to help some of our brethren and sistren around college football in their never-ending search for a college football coach. I’ll send over the Dawg Sports Consulting, Ltd. retainer agreement later. It’s probably best if everyone in your building just goes ahead and signs it.
Arkansas. Gus Malzahn. The Razorbacks are back in the market for a coach after releasing Bret Bielema back into the wild. I think Blake Anderson at Arkansas State could have the Hawgs bowling ASAP with his innovative offense and instate recruiting ties. But the big money crowd in the Natural State won’t stand for having the guy from their own personal UAB take over the big school. I think that kind of pride is folly. And for Pete’s sake, after the Nutt and Bielema years how much pride could you have left as an Arkansas fan anyhow?
Gus Malzahn on the other hand is a proven winner, albeit one in a funny vest. Why would Malzahn leave Auburn after making a run toward a national title? Because it’s Auburn and if he goes 8-4 next season he will most definitely be unemployed. Coaches are more and more beginning to realize that the time to change jobs is not after they ride you out of town on a rail. It’s while you’re still riding high.
Malzahn’s value on the open market will never be as high as it is right now. And if the former Razorback wide receiver wants to go home, he’s unlikely to have as neat an opportunity as he does now. In the process he’d be able to reset the old hot seat clock and sock away five more years of big coaching checks before retiring to a cushy TV job. Win/win.
Texas A&M. Jeff Brohm. You don’t want Jimbo Fisher, guys. You’re just overpaying for a coach who’s going to leave for LSU as soon as that job comes open in two years. It’s also worth asking how he’d handle the "passionate" Aggie fanbase.
Brohm on the other hand has been one of the most innovative young offensive minds in college football over the past decade. He took over the Western Kentucky program Willie Taggert made relevant and took it to bowl games. He’s gone 6-6 in his first season at Purdue. PURDUE.
While admittedly the Kentuckian is a bit of an odd geographic fit for east Texas, everything about College Station is a little odd, so I don’t think they can complain. Brohm would also scratch the Aggie itch for scoring points.
Tennessee. Tee Martin. After the ongoing fiasco of a coaching search the Vols have had they need to circle the wagons. There’s no better way to do that than with the quarterback who won the school’s last national title. Martin is an experienced position coach and now coordinator.
More importantly he is one of the top five recruiters in the country. That’s important at Tennessee. The state just doesn’t produce the same volume of blue chip players as Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Phil Fulmer was successful by going into neighboring states and selling his program to big time recruits. I think Martin could do that. Honestly as a Georgia fan I’d dread him recruiting Atlanta for the Big Urnge.
Does he have head coaching experience? No. Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, and Butch Jones all did, and a helluva lot of good it did them. Martin’s worked on great staffs at several schools and is well-known within the coaching profession. Surround him with a veteran coaching staff like the one Kirby Smart’s assembled in Athens, and he’ll probably do well.
He’d at least hang around long enough for the program to finish hemorrhaging buyout money from their last few mistakes. Right now that has to qualify as a win on Rocky Top.
Bonus----Purdue: Kevin Sumlin. While we’re sending people back to their alma maters we might as well send the former Boilermaker linebacker back to Lafayette to replace Brohm. Sumlin would find the reception warmer and the fanbase more sane than in College Station, a perfect landing spot after his Texas A&M term.
The only problem is that success at Purdue would certainly bring other offers, and he’d be in the unenviable position of having Mama call him home, going, and then leaving before the dishes are put away.