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Head coach-in waiting? Texas never should have agreed to risky setup
Kirk Bohls, Commentary
Austin American Statesman
Published; Updated: 2:22 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
Turned out Will Muschamp wasn't the head coach-in-waiting after all. He's now the head coach-in-absentia.
One of the biggest gambles in Mack Brown's storied tenure at Texas backfired Saturday when the fist-pumping, chest-bumping defensive coordinator tired of waiting for his turn at the top and headed to Florida in a shocking move.
Texas never should have agreed to the risky setup. It ended badly at Florida State, where Bobby Bowden tried to cling to his job too long and was forced out, and it ended poorly in Austin, where Brown faces upheaval among his coaching staff.
Brown fires or receives the resignations/retirements of three of his long-standing aides, including offensive coordinator Greg Davis, and now the head coach loses one of the best defensive coordinators in college football.
Just how good Muschamp is became obvious when the Gators hired him despite his never having been a head coach. That the 39-year-old Georgian landed this gig on the heels of a 5-7 season during which his defense drastically underachieved stands as testament to his abilities and reputation.
Sure, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is gambling on Muschamp, but no more than Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds was when he agreed to Brown's idea that Muschamp be named head coach-designate.
It's a lousy idea, if only because other assistants may think they are serving two bosses — Mack Brown and the next Mack Brown — and because Mack decided to linger longer than expected.
Brown was really more interested in keeping Muschamp around to help win another national championship than he was in scripting the perfect exit. Keeping a great talent like Muschamp was a good idea, but head coaches-in-waiting shouldn't have to wait more than one year or two at the most.
At least one source told me Brown had decided in the offseason to step down at the end of the 2010 season, but he changed his mind after his first losing season at Texas, worried that his legacy had been tarnished.
Muschamp was annoyed by the decision, sources close to the football program have said, and chose to leave what he thought was promised him: arguably the best coaching position in the country because of Texas' enormous resources, facilities and budget and the recruiting edge that is the Lone Star State.
No one can blame Brown for sticking around. At 59 and in good health, Brown has built one of the best programs in college football, but now faces the biggest crisis of his tenure, even bigger than that damning, five-year losing streak to Oklahoma.
Now he must fill both his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator positions, and Muschamp could easily take budding offensive coordinator Major Applewhite with him to further deplete Brown's staff.
There might not be many greener pastures than Texas, but Florida might be one of them, and it's easy to see Muschamp lusting after what is one of the top-five programs in the country.
Muschamp will find one huge problem in that he has to replace a legend in Urban Meyer, but then, he was prepared to do that here
This article points to Brown's biggest issue: his legacy. Not satisfied with x number of years with 10 wins or more, a NC, etc, he just couldn't turn the wheel over to the guy he promised the job to.
Maybe I'd do the same if I was him. I don't know. But I do know that Mack, like a fighter who stayed in the ring too long, is too worried about his "legacy" and that could leave him with a much worse legacy if he doesn't get the program turned around quickly. Good luck...
It will be fun kicking their tails next year.
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