John Pennington at Mr. SEC has a pretty good list of characteristics that the next Kentucky coach should have. No doubt, John knows more about football than I do, but I would like to concur in part and dissent in part with the esteemed Mr. Pennington.
Let's take his check boxes in order:
- The ability to recruit
I completely concur. The next Kentucky coach must be a strong recruiter, and in my view, this is one of those things that is not negotiable. An average recruiter will quickly get behind the power curve in the SEC no matter how good he is at scheming and developing players.
I also agree that we must continue to recruit Georgia strongly, must do better in Florida, and continue to make inroads in South Carolina.
- Connections to Ohio and Pennsylvania
John point out the fact that these two states produce prodigious amounts of NFL draft picks, and he's right about that. He also points out that with Penn St. being hammered by the NCAA, an opportunity exists for Kentucky to score in another rich state for NFL talent.
I see this as an optional attribute. It would be nice, but the ability to recruit the speed-rich south, to me, is mandatory. We mostly agree, but I don't feel quite as strongly about it as John does.
- An in-check ego
Concur. The short answer is that basketball is always going to be the love of the Commonwealth, and if that hurts the head football coach's feelings, he should look elsewhere and not consider UK.
- A track record of success
Here, I think we part ways. I do prefer that we hire a head coach, but he doesn't have to be a BCS level head coach. What he needs to be is a winner. Contra John, we have had success with an up-and-comer -- Hal Mumme. Yes, Mumme messed up, but football was fun under Mumme and it really was hard not to enjoy it.
But I think another coordinator might not be the right call, so we are in agreement there, at least to the extent that I would prefer a guy that has successful head coaching experience.
- A flashy offense
I think this is the most pithy of the three reasons John gives:
Also, some pass-first masters are able to get more production out of lesser-ranked recruits. From Mike Leach to Bobby Petrino, some coaches can scheme their way to big points and big yards even without Top 10 recruiting classes. For that matter, how many successful NFL quarterbacks and receivers has Steve Spurrier produced during his career?I think this is right. Also, I think Kentucky fans are just attracted to a powerful offensive team, even if it doesn't have SEC-East competitive seasons.
Pennington thinks Petrino is they guy, but he's not coming here no matter what we offer him. He knows perfectly well that he's going to be high on the list of better schools looking for their next head coach. We need to ween ourselves off the absurd notion that even if we could hold our nose and offer Petrino a contract, he isn't going to sign it.
I would also add the following things:
- A proven record of NCAA compliance. We need to make sure that we hire a guy who will not land us in hot water.
- A non-job hopper. We can't be sure how long any coach will be here, but if the guy has a record of moving around, probably isn't a good fit. We need to try to find a fit that will last a few years, seven at least.
I'm sure some of you also have some suggestions in this area. What characteristics would you like to see added to this list?