The dissolution of Baylor’s football coaching staff, about three months before the Bears kick off the ’16 season, has consumed much of my morning. Until today, I thought the hiring of Lovie Smith at Illinois had been late, but that’s nothing compared to what’s happening in Waco with Art Briles now out of the picture. For several hours now, I’ve fielded texts from friends and associates. It’s a weird, wild time.
I talked to a few friends in the business who handle coaches to get their feedback on the situation. Would they send a client into the unsettled situation that Baylor offers? Bay Harbor Islands, Fla.-based Brian Levy of Goal Line Sports, who represents several hot young college and NFL coaches as well as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, said he’d stay away.
“I think with this situation, you’re not gonna send an up-and-coming guy,” he said. “The program is great, but it has a lot of problems. With the President (Kenneth Starr) on the chopping block and the AD (Ian McCaw) too, I don’t know what they’re going to do and how they’re going to restructure. They’ll probably want to get a big name to reestablish dignity and order there, and they’ve gotta bring in the right guy.”
Brian said it could be a no-win situation with so many variables and so little time until the season starts.
“Do (the circumstances that led to Baylor’s upheaval) have a lot to do with the caliber of players they recruited? I can’t answer that. They may have been taking a lot of guys whose ACT and SAT scores are not the greatest and they get them in. Sometimes those are the kids you have to babysit a lot. These coaches aren’t looking to be babysitters. They want structure, and you don’t know how these programs are run. There’s no accountability and no system set up for the player to come in and ask the right questions and get the right results before the program imploded. All these big sports supporters who will do anything to win, that doesn’t go over well (with the better coaches), and then all of the sudden you have a disjointed program.
“(The school will) have to spend money. I really believe they’ll try to keep the continuity this year. Who are you gonna get (at this point)? It won’t be a big-name guy. You can’t get a guy from the NFL at this point. Your next coach will be a disciplinarian, an experienced, veteran coach who will bring them respectability. . . At this point, you can’t build a staff.”
He said the team is probably conducting two searches simultaneously.
“This (hiring) process will start immediately for next year. Now, the interim head coach could do an incredible job. You don’t know. But I’m telling you, anyone with the stench of the past regime they will want to get rid of. As we’ve seen with the Lions, who got rid of their whole offensive staff. I think you’ll see that there. Will get new a new President and a new AD, and then they will immediately begin the search for a new head coach.”