As a former College Football coach, I am well aware of the ups and downs that come along with the coaching profession. One day you are riding high and on top of the world and the next day you’re out of work. Win 10-11 games one year and you’re a hero or even a “Man-Genius” (Jets Fans Get this term) but win 6-7 the next year and your career is over.
Yes, I get it, other professions are competitive and you are held accountable for results, but coaching football is unlike any other. Fortunes rise and fall based on a few wins or losses and todays “hot coaches” become tomorrow’s cautionary tales on a year to year basis.
Most, if not all coaches have that inner fire burning that constantly leads them to seek bigger and better opportunities. Young coaches look around and see guys like Brian Kelly and Urban Myer go from the MAC, Conference USA & The Mountain West to places like Florida and Notre Dame and think that the next step will bring them self satisfaction, or lead them closer to the top of the coaching world. Success stories like this have conditioned coaches to think that they should always be looking for the next job even if it means taking on a situation that may not be right for them.
For every Urban Myer and Brian Kelly, there are dozens of other “Hot” coaches who jumped at the first opportunity, only to find themselves out of work a few short years later. For many Non-Power 5 coaches who experience some success, they feel the need to strike while the Iron is Hot and take on a less than favorable situation at a bigger school, but that does not mean they all should.
All day, I’ve been reading articles about the American tragedy that is Neal Brown “still being the head coach at Troy”. Many cannot not fathom the idea of why Brown hasn’t jumped ship to the next best thing. There is outrage all over social media and other outlets, as people stomp their feet about the in-justice that is being done to Neal Brown or why he didn’t flee in the dark of night to greener pastures such as Lawrence Kansas or Louisville Kentucky. Most writers were so busy forming their own narratives after last night’s bowl win, that they never actually took the time to listen to Brown himself or stop to think about the jobs that they are pushing Brown for.
I can’t really say I blame some people for thinking this way. Most of the media, much like coaches are conditioned to think that the next thing is always better. However, Brown himself has said, which was also alluded to during last night’s broadcast, that Troy has been very good to him, next year’s team may be the very best he has ever had, and he doesn’t have to go anywhere just for the sake of taking another job.
That’s right, He doesn’t NEED to go anywhere just for the sake of taking another job, let alone some of the scandal ridden, mid-level Power 5 jobs that programs that have opened so far.
Consider this year’s “Best” Power 5 Openings.
UNC, Louisville, Kansas, Maryland, NO Thanks! Each one of those schools have a laundry list of scandal and headaches that Brown shouldn’t want or need, not with a loaded team returning next year at Troy. Perhaps Kansas State, a historically difficult place to recruit and win, not to mention the legend Bill Snyder watching your every move, ready to jump back and take over at the first sign of adversity.
Fact is, Brown is secure enough in his ability to coach and win and in his current situation, which gives him the ability to be selective about what he wants to do next. What made guys like Urban Meyer and Brian Kelly special was not just that they rose up the ranks, but rather their ability to wait for and pick the right situations. Much like Chris Petersen at Boise, Brown can wait and pick his spot, rather than jump to a bad situation.
Brown is 38 years old, has a loaded team coming back, support from his administration and more importantly, happy at Troy. In the crazy, high pressure, cut throat world of coaching football, that seems like a damn good situation to me. Sure he may have been passed over for a job he may have wanted but he has also turned down jobs that he didn't want.
So, Neal Brown, for what it’s worth, take some advice from a former college football coach who experienced a 10-win season only to be fired 2 years later (yup that’s me). The grass isn’t always greener, you do what’s right for you. When and if you decide to move on from Troy, do it for your own reasons, not for what others believe you should do.