College recruiting can be a shady business, but this is a story I can’t say I’ve ever heard an example of.
By now, you probably know that Eric Wolford just left the Kentucky Wildcats to become the new offensive line coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Seeing coaches leave for bigger schools is nothing new, and you can’t fault someone for wanting to coach under Nick Saban and compete for championships every year.
However, it’s the manner in which Wolford allegedly did it has people in Lexington feeling a tad upset, and rightfully so.
According to KSR’s Matt Jones and The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker, Wolford was recruiting an offensive line target, then went to interview at Alabama, later accepted the offensive line job, and ultimately never returned to Lexington.
Wolford was even allegedly recruiting the player in question to Alabama instead of Kentucky before the deal was final.
I think it’s fair to say there is some frustration in Lexington about the circumstances surrounding the departure of Eric Wolford to Alabama— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 1, 2022
They always say that the two days people remember the most at your job are your first and your last. In Eric Wolford’s case, the last is just a guess as no one has seen him since he accepted the Alabama job— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 1, 2022
Crazy. Confirming what @KySportsRadio is hearing on how OL coach Eric Wolford leaving for Bama went down, per a source:— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 1, 2022
“He went to interview and never came back.”
Wolford was recruiting a kid for UK, they thought, but turned out it was for Bama. No goodbye to his OL.
If this is all true, it’s a terrible look on Wolford. Big Bobby Petrino telling his players bye with a note vibes.
Between deceiving his fellow coaches about a recruit to not even telling them and his players goodbye, this is simply the wrong way to go about accepting a new job elsewhere.
It’s also a disgrace to the late John Schlarman, the man Wolford was tasked with continuing the legacy of. Schlarman represented Kentucky football’s family atmosphere better than anyone.
Wolford clearly didn’t feel the same, so good riddance he’s elsewhere now so Mark Stoops can find a new coach who’s actually willing to embrace Schlarman’s legacy and not randomly disappear to take another job.
Uncoincidentally, former Wildcat Freddie Maggard wrote a bit of a scathing post on Monday about Wolford, which in retrospect looks very validated upon hearing today’s news. Wolford simply wasn’t the kind of leader that the Big Blue Wall deserves.
Here’s to hoping the next offensive line coach is a major upgrade in terms of carrying Schlarman’s legacy on.