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Old Oct 27, 2012, 03:51 PM   #1
I Hate Lemonier
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There were 25 coaching changes last year. Before our loss to Indiana we ranked 108th in the Sagarin Rankings. Only 7 teams had a worse Sagarin Ranking heading into this week who have a first year head coach. They were as follows:

Illinois 108
UAB 122
Southern Miss 136
Colorado St 141
Florida Atlantic 157
Akron 160
Hawaii 162
Memphis 170

Some new coaches of note:

Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss (37)
Paul Chryst at Pitt (80)
Steve Addazio at Rutgers (25)
Gus Malzahan at Arkansas St. (101)
Larry Fedora at North Carolina (27)
Bob Davie at New Mexico (100)

I mocked some of the sites that picked Beckman as a C+ hire or worse and ranked some unproven coaches higher. Looks like they may have been correct.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 03:53 PM   #2
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Kyle Flood is coaching Rutgers, not Steve Addazio. Addazio coaches Temple, and would like to take this opportunity to announce that he's not interested in Illinois, and neither is Tom Crean.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 04:20 PM   #3
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Kyle Flood is coaching Rutgers, not Steve Addazio. Addazio coaches Temple, and would like to take this opportunity to announce that he's not interested in Illinois, and neither is Tom Crean.
Oops, thanks for the correction
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 04:24 PM   #4
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Paul Chryst was looking like a terrible hire at first, but now Pitt is at .500. Ole Miss just beat another SEC team, they're on the rise. Rutgers is ranked 15th nationally. Arkansas State is continuing to be a power in the Sun Belt. UNC just beat NC State and are bowl eligible. A lot of these new hires are looking good, a lot better than ours is.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 04:30 PM   #5
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Paul Chryst was looking like a terrible hire at first, but now Pitt is at .500. Ole Miss just beat another SEC team, they're on the rise. Rutgers is ranked 15th nationally. Arkansas State is continuing to be a power in the Sun Belt. UNC just beat NC State and are bowl eligible. A lot of these new hires are looking good, a lot better than ours is.
I guess we should look into their situations at the time of the hire as well no?
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 05:13 PM   #6
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There were 25 coaching changes last year. Before our loss to Indiana we ranked 108th in the Sagarin Rankings. Only 7 teams had a worse Sagarin Ranking heading into this week who have a first year head coach. They were as follows:

Illinois 108
UAB 122
Southern Miss 136
Colorado St 141
Florida Atlantic 157
Akron 160
Hawaii 162
Memphis 170

Some new coaches of note:

Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss (37)
Paul Chryst at Pitt (80)
Steve Addazio at Rutgers (25)
Gus Malzahan at Arkansas St. (101)
Larry Fedora at North Carolina (27)
Bob Davie at New Mexico (100)

I mocked some of the sites that picked Beckman as a C+ hire or worse and ranked some unproven coaches higher. Looks like they may have been correct.
You have to take into account the amount of returning talent in each of these situations as well as potential buy-in issues with returning upperclassmen. For example, at Pitt the previous coach ditched his players after one year so Cryst certainly didn't have any loyalty issues to overcome.

There was far more talent at Rutgers and UNC than Illinois. Why do you think Fedora wasn't interested in the Illinois job? Most of the other first year coaches haven't done terribly well.

Hugh Freeze is something special, and I really liked him at ASU, but he was always going to stay in the south.

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Old Oct 27, 2012, 05:28 PM   #7
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You have to take into account the amount of returning talent in each of these situations as well as potential buy-in issues with returning upperclassmen. For example, at Pitt the previous coach ditched his players after one year so Cryst certainly didn't have any loyalty issues to overcome.

There was far more talent at Rutgers and UNC than Illinois. Why do you think Fedora wasn't interested in the Illinois job? Most of the other first year coaches haven't done terribly well.

Hugh Freeze is something special, and I really liked him at ASU, but he was always going to stay in the south.
Rutgers did not have far more talent than Illinois and North Carolina lost a ton of talent to the NFL the last couple of years. Rutger finished 36th in the Sagarin last year, UNC 54 and Illinois 55. Rutgers is a +11 ths year, UNC +27 and Illinois is -53. Coaching has alot to do with that
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 08:20 PM   #8
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Rutgers did not have far more talent than Illinois and North Carolina lost a ton of talent to the NFL the last couple of years. Rutger finished 36th in the Sagarin last year, UNC 54 and Illinois 55. Rutgers is a +11 ths year, UNC +27 and Illinois is -53. Coaching has alot to do with that
UNC was a complete mess last year with an interim coach and sanctions pending. They played far below their talent. Last three classes: 29, 16, 44.

Rutgers promoted an assistant coach from a coaching staff that had been successful over number of years after their head coach got an NFL job. Last three Rutgers classes: No. 24, 32, 64 (small class). No only did they recruit better, but they recruiting guys that fit their system both before and after the coaching change.

There is really no comparison between these programs and the Illinois situation.

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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:00 PM   #9
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UNC was a complete mess last year with an interim coach and sanctions pending. They played far below their talent. Last three classes: 29, 16, 44.

Rutgers promoted an assistant coach from a coaching staff that had been successful over number of years after their head coach got an NFL job. Last three Rutgers classes: No. 24, 32, 64 (small class). No only did they recruit better, but they recruiting guys that fit their system both before and after the coaching change.

There is really no comparison between these programs and the Illinois situation.
All 1st year coaches face obstacles of some sort. A vast majority of this years crop have outperformed Beckman.

Todd Graham- New system, replace popular, permissive players coach. Sagarin (15)

Bill O'Brien- Probably the most difficult situation in history to take over. Replacing legend, scandal plagued, 10 players exit 2 weeks before season. Sagarin(29)

Rich Rod- Totally new system, replacing coach popular with players, recruiting worse than Illinois. Sagarin (24) and just defeated USC

Tim Deruyter- Another coach with new system, replacing a popular legend, talent level beneath Illinois. Sagarin (38)

Bob Davie- Really? (100)


Hopefully Beckman can make this respectable quickly with really steallar recruiting, but he has been outperformed by all shapes and sizes this year.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:15 PM   #10
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All 1st year coaches face obstacles of some sort. A vast majority of this years crop have outperformed Beckman.

Todd Graham- New system, replace popular, permissive players coach. Sagarin (15)

Bill O'Brien- Probably the most difficult situation in history to take over. Replacing legend, scandal plagued, 10 players exit 2 weeks before season. Sagarin(29)

Rich Rod- Totally new system, replacing coach popular with players, recruiting worse than Illinois. Sagarin (24) and just defeated USC

Tim Deruyter- Another coach with new system, replacing a popular legend, talent level beneath Illinois. Sagarin (38)

Bob Davie- Really? (100)
  • Just about any coach could do better at PSU than Paterno's staff. He recruited some terrific talent but should have been let go a decade earlier. That staff was not competitive. I will, however, give O'Brien credit for successfully using the "us against the world" approach to bring that group together.
  • ASU ran a spread offense before and after the coaching change. But yes, Graham has done a good job with that group. I would argue we were better coached than ASU last year with VK on the defensive side.
  • I'm not sure what to think of Davie. They are pretty bad this year, and Locks recruited pretty well down there.
  • Arizona's last three classes were 37, 55, and 46.

Illinois for the past three years: 70, 42, and 64. And the 2011 class was much worse than that ranking because so many of those guys were high risk and never made it to campus. I don't think you fully appreciate how much we were damaged by three straight poor recruiting classes, particularly when these recruiting classes failed to fill critical positional needs (e.g. WR, DB, DL, and OT). We recruited better than New Mexico, but that is about it and not by much (consistently around No. 80).

I don't think that our problems this season can be completely blamed on poor recruiting. But almost all of your comparisons for the new coaching hires are with guys who inherited better situations. There was a REASON that no one was interested in our head coaching job.

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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:31 PM   #11
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  • Just about any coach could do better at PSU than Paterno's staff. He recruited some terrific talent but should have been let go a decade earlier. That staff was not competitive. I will, however, give O'Brien credit for successfully using the "us against the world" approach to bring that group together.
  • ASU ran a spread offense before and after the coaching change. But yes, Graham has done a good job with that group. I would argue we were better coached than ASU last year with VK on the defensive side.
  • I'm not sure what to think of Davie. They are pretty bad this year, and Locks recruited pretty well down there.
  • Arizona's last three classes were 37, 55, and 46.
Illinois for the past three years: 70, 42, and 64. And the 2011 class was much worse than that ranking because so many of those guys were high risk and never made it to campus. I don't think you fully appreciate how much we were damaged by three straight poor recruiting classes, particularly when these recruiting classes failed to fill critical positional needs (e.g. WR, DB, DL, and OT). We recruited better than New Mexico, but that is about it and not by much (consistently around No. 80).

I don't think that our problems this season can be completely blamed on poor recruiting. But almost all of your comparisons for the new coaching hires are with guys who inherited better situations. There was a REASON that no one was interested in our head coaching job.
It has been very disappointing to me that Beckman hasn't gotten these guys to buy in. I realize that says more about the players than the coach, but Beckman is known as a players coach too. Saying no one wanted this job is a bit of hyperbole without knowing exactly who was contacted and showed no interest. Besides, Tim Beckman wasn't a nobody. He did a solid job at Toledo and was very well respected at Ohio State. Beckman wasn't begging for a job and he could easily have stayed at Toledo and gone bigger at some point. That is why I am so disappointed in the performance up to this point.

Of those 25 new hires I think Illinois could reasonably have been considered by all but Meyer. If A&M doesn't open up I think Sumlin is coaching here. He may have used us once A&M came open but he was leaving one way or another. I don't think Beckman was a last option type of candidate for us, but he has underperformed. The fortunate thing for him is he will have at least two more years to progress and a staff built to recruit at a very high level.

I stated in a differet thread that I thought some of those sites saying Chryst, Mora, Malzahn etc were better hires were absolutely crazy. I truly hope Beckman has run into a perfect storm type of year here and we will start to see sunlight early next year.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:42 PM   #12
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It has been very disappointing to me that Beckman hasn't gotten these guys to buy in. I realize that says more about the players than the coach, but Beckman is known as a players coach too. Saying no one wanted this job is a bit of hyperbole without knowing exactly who was contacted and showed no interest. Besides, Tim Beckman wasn't a nobody. He did a solid job at Toledo and was very well respected at Ohio State. Beckman wasn't begging for a job and he could easily have stayed at Toledo and gone bigger at some point. That is why I am so disappointed in the performance up to this point.

Of those 25 new hires I think Illinois could reasonably have been considered by all but Meyer. If A&M doesn't open up I think Sumlin is coaching here. He may have used us once A&M came open but he was leaving one way or another. I don't think Beckman was a last option type of candidate for us, but he has underperformed. The fortunate thing for him is he will have at least two more years to progress and a staff built to recruit at a very high level.

I stated in a differet thread that I thought some of those sites saying Chryst, Mora, Malzahn etc were better hires were absolutely crazy. I truly hope Beckman has run into a perfect storm type of year here and we will start to see sunlight early next year.
I see 2-10 this year and 2-10 next year as well. 2014 at the earliest b4 we see light.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 10:49 PM   #13
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[*]I'm not sure what to think of Davie. They are pretty bad this year, and Locks recruited pretty well down there.
New Mexico won a grand total of 1 game each in 2009, 2010, and 2011 under Mike Locksley. Davie has them with 4 wins this year and a chance at a bowl game. He installed a triple option offense - presumably, to mask the weakness of the defense.

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Old Oct 28, 2012, 08:22 AM   #14
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There were 25 coaching changes last year. Before our loss to Indiana we ranked 108th in the Sagarin Rankings. Only 7 teams had a worse Sagarin Ranking heading into this week who have a first year head coach. They were as follows:

Illinois 108
UAB 122
Southern Miss 136
Colorado St 141
Florida Atlantic 157
Akron 160
Hawaii 162
Memphis 170

Some new coaches of note:

Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss (37)
Paul Chryst at Pitt (80)
Steve Addazio at Rutgers (25)
Gus Malzahan at Arkansas St. (101)
Larry Fedora at North Carolina (27)
Bob Davie at New Mexico (100)

I mocked some of the sites that picked Beckman as a C+ hire or worse and ranked some unproven coaches higher. Looks like they may have been correct.
Updated

Illinois 126
UAB 131
Colorado St 132
Florida Atlantic 138
Southern Miss 157
Akron 162
Memphis 166
Hawaii 169

Unless we move up about 20 spots before the season ends, this will be the worst Illinois team ever recorded in the Sagarin Rankings which dates back to 1998.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 09:48 AM   #15
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It has been very disappointing to me that Beckman hasn't gotten these guys to buy in. I realize that says more about the players than the coach, but Beckman is known as a players coach too.
I'm with you on this. I'm very disappointed at the lack of buy in on this team from the upper classmen. Some fight back to the new coach is expected but you can tell that these upper classmen just want this over with. Just watch who not only makes mistakes...but repeatedly makes the same mistakes. It should be freshmen but it's seniors on our team.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 10:21 AM   #16
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I'm with you on this. I'm very disappointed at the lack of buy in on this team from the upper classmen. Some fight back to the new coach is expected but you can tell that these upper classmen just want this over with. Just watch who not only makes mistakes...but repeatedly makes the same mistakes. It should be freshmen but it's seniors on our team.
Yep. This has been the story all year, particularly on defense.

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Old Oct 28, 2012, 11:19 AM   #17
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I'm with you on this. I'm very disappointed at the lack of buy in on this team from the upper classmen. Some fight back to the new coach is expected but you can tell that these upper classmen just want this over with. Just watch who not only makes mistakes...but repeatedly makes the same mistakes. It should be freshmen but it's seniors on our team.
Given what we are hearing about the divisions among the coaching staff, it helps explain why the seniors haven't bought in. Sounds like several coaches are going in different directions and that simply can't happen.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:00 PM   #18
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Given what we are hearing about the divisions among the coaching staff, it helps explain why the seniors haven't bought in. Sounds like several coaches are going in different directions and that simply can't happen.
I see you want to continue to find a way to place all the blame on Beckman. That's fine but the fact remains that the players are very limited in their exposure to "in-fighting" between coaches if there even is any.

I'll say again, do you think it's merely a coincidence that Ashante Williams has bought into the system AND has played by far the best of his career and perhaps the best out of anyone on defense?
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:01 PM   #19
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I know Campbell wanted a head coaching job, but I wonder if he didn't follow TB to Illinois because he saw the writing on the wall here. It would be tough to be noticed as a great offensive coordinator at a B1G program if the offense is awful no matter what. I'm sure Toledo offering the HC job to him sealed the deal for him to stay.

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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:03 PM   #20
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I know Campbell wanted a head coaching job, but I wonder if he didn't follow TB to Illinois because he saw the writing on the wall here. It would be tough to be noticed as a great offensive coordinator at a B1G program if the offense is awful no matter what. I'm sure Toledo offering the HC job to him sealed the deal for him to stay.
Yeah, him wanted a head coaching job was the reason he stayed there. There's no way he was going to follow Beckman when he could stay at Toledo as the head man especially knowing that they had a great program being built and a great offense for him to run.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:15 PM   #21
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I see you want to continue to find a way to place all the blame on Beckman. That's fine but the fact remains that the players are very limited in their exposure to "in-fighting" between coaches if there even is any.

I'll say again, do you think it's merely a coincidence that Ashante Williams has bought into the system AND has played by far the best of his career and perhaps the best out of anyone on defense?
So word leaks out to the press and message board posters but somehow the players are blissfully unaware of any discord? That doesn't make a great deal of sense. You cite this as a "fact" when you have zero idea what the players know and don't know.

The Ashante Williams example confuses me. Are you using this as an illustration that all is well with the coaching staff? If that is so then why the drop off by so many others? 1 guy flourishing on a unit which overall is poor doesnt prove the staff is doing a good job
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:33 PM   #22
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Of those 25 new hires I think Illinois could reasonably have been considered by all but Meyer.
Most of the 25 would either have not been remotely viable as candidates (e.g. Carl Pellini at FAU) or were not interested. I would be surprised if the NFL guys like O'Brien and Mora would have been interested in the Illinois job given the location and difficulty of recruiting to this school.

Akron____________Terry Bowden (NV = not viable)
Arizona__________Rich Rodriguez (after Michigan failure, zero interest in the B1G)
Arizona State____Todd Graham (not interested, wanted to go back to the sunbelt)
Arkansas_________John L. Smith (NV)
Arkansas State___Gus Malzahn
Colorado State___Jim McElwain (NV)
FAU______________Carl Pellini (NV)
Fresno State_____Tim DeRuyter
Hawaii___________Norm Chow (NV)
Houston__________Tony Levine (NV)
Illinois_________Tim Beckman
Kansas___________Charlie Weis (NV)
Massachusetts____Charley Molnar (NV)
Memphis__________Justin Fuente (NV)
Mississippi______Hugh Freeze (I really like this guy)
New Mexico_______Bob Davie (NV)
North Carolina___Larry Fedora (not interested in Illinois)
Ohio State_______Urban Meyer (zero interest in Illinois)
Penn State_______Bill O'Brien (PSU hired O'Brien after everyone else turned them down)
Pittsburgh_______Paul Chryst (Viable, serious candidate)
Rutgers__________Kyle Flood (only Rutgers would have promoted)
Southern Miss____Ellis Johnson (NV)
Texas A&M________Kevin Sumlin (not interested, using us to negotiate)
Toledo___________Matt Campbell (NV)
Tulane___________Curtis Johnson (NV)
UAB______________Garrick McGee (NV)
UCLA_____________Jim Mora (not likely to have been interested)
Washington State_Mike Leach (bad fit)


If we want to play the hindsight game, we could have potentially hired the following guys: Gus Malzahn, Tim DeRuyter, Hugh Freeze, Paul Chryst, Mike Leach.

As much as I love Hugh Freeze, he is a southern guy through and through so probably wouldn't have been here long (and would have taken Ole Miss over Illinois). I also have serious doubts about the ability of Mike Leach to get along with our AD and university leaders (though it looks like he might be turning around WSU, at least in terms of effort and competitiveness.)

Perhaps the mistake Thomas made was in limiting his search primarily to proven head coaches. Guys like Gus Malzahn, Tim DeRuyter and Paul Chryst (and Monken) would have been risky hires but it sure helps to have a good coordinator locked up for one side of the ball. A good AD needs to know how to size up a guy and know if he has what it takes. Alvarez was never a college head coach before taking the UW job, and Ferentz was a failed head coach for a very limited stint at Maine before taking the Iowa job.

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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:40 PM   #23
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Most of the 25 would either have not been remotely viable as candidates (e.g. Carl Pellini at FAU) or were not interested. I would be surprised if the NFL guys like O'Brien and Mora would have been interested in the Illinois job given the location and difficulty of recruiting to this school.

Akron____________Terry Bowden (NV = not viable)
Arizona__________Rich Rodriguez (after Michigan failure, zero interest in the B1G)
Arizona State____Todd Graham (not interested, wanted to go back to the sunbelt)
Arkansas_________John L. Smith (NV)
Arkansas State___Gus Malzahn
Colorado State___Jim McElwain (NV)
FAU______________Carl Pellini (NV)
Fresno State_____Tim DeRuyter
Hawaii___________Norm Chow (NV)
Houston__________Tony Levine (NV)
Illinois_________Tim Beckman
Kansas___________Charlie Weis (NV)
Massachusetts____Charley Molnar (NV)
Memphis__________Justin Fuente (NV)
Mississippi______Hugh Freeze (I really like this guy)
New Mexico_______Bob Davie (NV)
North Carolina___Larry Fedora (not interested in Illinois)
Ohio State_______Urban Meyer (zero interest in Illinois)
Penn State_______Bill O'Brien (PSU hired O'Brien after everyone else turned them down)
Pittsburgh_______Paul Chryst (Viable, serious candidate)
Rutgers__________Kyle Flood (only Rutgers would have promoted)
Southern Miss____Ellis Johnson (NV)
Texas A&M________Kevin Sumlin (not interested, using us to negotiate)
Toledo___________Matt Campbell (NV)
Tulane___________Curtis Johnson (NV)
UAB______________Garrick McGee (NV)
UCLA_____________Jim Mora (not likely to have been interested)
Washington State_Mike Leach (bad fit)

If we want to play the hindsight game, we could have potentially hired the following guys: Gus Malzahn, Tim DeRuyter, Hugh Freeze, Paul Chryst, Mike Leach.

As much as I love Hugh Freeze, he is a southern guy through and through so probably wouldn't have been here long (and would have taken Ole Miss over Illinois). I also have serious doubts about the ability of Mike Leach to get along with our AD and university leaders (though it looks like he might be turning around WSU, at least in terms of effort and competitiveness.)

Perhaps the mistake Thomas made was in limiting his search primarily to proven head coaches. Guys like Gus Malzahn, Tim DeRuyter and Paul Chryst (and Monken) would have been risky hires but it sure helps to have a good coordinator locked up for one side of the ball. A good AD needs to know how to size up a guy and know if he has what it takes. Alvarez was never a college head coach before taking the UW job, and Ferentz was a failed head coach for a very limited stint at Maine before taking the Iowa job.
The point being is that amongst that list I would have put Beckman in the top 10 maybe top 5 prior to this season. I didnt think Beckman was a bad hire by Thomas. I am fearful that I was wrong, given what I have seen so far from him. I'm not playing the hindsight game. I thought MT hired one of the best available candidates out there
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:52 PM   #24
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The point being is that amongst that list I would have put Beckman in the top 10 maybe top 5 prior to this season. I didnt think Beckman was a bad hire by Thomas. I am fearful that I was wrong, given what I have seen so far from him. I'm not playing the hindsight game. I thought MT hired one of the best available candidates out there
My point is that the best hires don't always look like the best hires on paper. It really does come down to the AD being a good judge of character and ability. The Iowa AD knew that Ferentz would be a good head coach because of their personal interactions when he was on the Iowa staff. The UW athletic director knew Alvarez would be a good hire based upon their interview (the other top candidate was much better on paper.)

On paper, Beckman was a good hire. He was successful at Toledo. But we didn't get to interview him or talk to people who knew him at Bowling Green, Oklahoma State or Toledo. And it isn't just about people recommending a guy (mentors will always do that), it is about how they recommend him. And there were certainly red flags regarding his abilities as a DC (terrible defenses at Okie State, Toledo built around their offensive prowess.)

Hopefully Beckman will right the ship. But if he doesn't, and one of these coordinators turns out to be a terrific head coach we will be kicking ourselves (or Thomas) for making a bad hire.

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Old Oct 28, 2012, 01:43 PM   #25
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So word leaks out to the press and message board posters but somehow the players are blissfully unaware of any discord? That doesn't make a great deal of sense. You cite this as a "fact" when you have zero idea what the players know and don't know.

The Ashante Williams example confuses me. Are you using this as an illustration that all is well with the coaching staff? If that is so then why the drop off by so many others? 1 guy flourishing on a unit which overall is poor doesnt prove the staff is doing a good job
You're completely missing the point.

I didn't cite anything as a fact first of all. And you're right I know just as much as you about what the players are aware of. Yet you criticize my thought on it and act like your words are gospel...interesting. My point on all of this is that I doubt there are ever instances where coaches have shown public displays of not being on the same page in front of the players, if those things are even happening. Remember, the media and "unnamed sources" tend to over-blow things. I'm not saying there aren't differences among the staff but there's also no way of knowing if it's to the point where guys are already looking at other options.

And my example with Ashante is pretty cut and dry. He's bought in and he's playing well. I don't think that's a coincidence. It has nothing to do with the coaches being on the same page. It's an entirely different discussion which I thought I made blatantly obvious but I guess not...
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