With the football season on the verge, or probably past the verge of being over before it's over, the discussion will raise a few notches about getting a different coach for next year. This coach will be asked to take over a roster of players experienced beyond their years but suffering from a bad couple of years involving heart breaking losses, blowouts and more turns in their season than a Rube Goldberg plumbing solution.
So what should we look for in a coach for next year? That is the multi-million dollar question about to face Mitch Barnhart. This will be the hardest hiring decision he will make; that is, unless he's wrong and has to do it again in a few years. Football represents the #1 revenue stream into the university from athletics and is crucial for the support of the many other sports Mitch has elevated and staffed to win. With the wrong hire, the football program stagnates, revenue suffers, fan$ abandon support then other sports are jeopardized. Granted the TV money will still be huge but football seat, parking and concession revenue shrinks and alumni get a little less generous with donations, especially ones earmarked for athletics.
So on to our mythical profile of the perfect coach - and a little poll with each part to get a feel for how coaching characteristics stack up within ASOB.
Two popular opposing types of coaches seems to be "Big Name" and "Up and Comer". Big Name represents that group of coaches who have gained notoriety as Head Coach at Div I or higher level over a period of years. Up and Comers is that group of others - Head Coach at Div II or lesser Div I and a myriad of Offensive and Defensive Coordinators.
"BIG NAME" vs "UP AND COMER"
Big Name Pluses - head coaching experience, success at some point in their past, name recognition that could help recruiting, proven history in offense or defense at some point in the past, could be long in the tooth. Minuses - potentially high cost, offensive or defensive specialty may be outdated, currently not coaching for whatever reason (resign, firing, etc.) and could be long in the tooth. ( "long in the tooth" can now be considered good or bad.)
Up and Comer Pluses - Recent extraordinary offensive, defensive or team success, may have Head Coaching experience, lower cost, could relate to today's player better, intangibles. Minuses - less "buzz" in national press, recruiting could be impacted, could have fewer contacts for maximizing coaching staff, could have no head coaching experience, intangibles.
So now, what is your choice? Try not to think of who you specifically would like to see on the sidelines next year, but of the type of coach. One that has driven a successful team and program that now would agree to come to Kentucky to build a program or one that has either overachieved with a team or side of the ball that would come to Kentucky to build a program? I think I'm going with the Up and Comer, but then, I always have liked the horse with middle odds.
(Even if this has little bearing on how you would pick a coach, cast a vote. SB Nation only allows one poll per post so click the next post to rate how important Big Name vs Up and Comer is when you consider a coach.)