The Coaching Hullabaloo

The Coaching Hullabaloo

It was quite the week to be a head coach in college football.

When many people think Thanksgiving, they think turkey and food comas. When I think Thanksgiving my mind often turns to the football games tuned in after the bird has been cooked. Thanksgiving weekend in college football is rivalry week, and never fails to disappoint. This past weekend was no exception.

For the third year in a row, The LSU Tigers and The Texas A&M Aggies played Thursday night. The Tigers defeated the Aggies 54-39. Texas A&M quarterback, Trevor Knight returned to the field against the Tigers only to leave the game with a worrisome hit to the knee. Derrius Guice broke LSU's single-season rushing yard record, already broken once this year by Leonard Fournette, with 285 rushing yards and four touchdowns. But, the biggest LSU headline of the week might have been the hiring of a new head coach. The Tigers parted way with head coach Les Miles in September after a disappointing loss to Auburn. Offensive coordinator Ed Ogeron stepped up as the interim coach, creating a 5-2 record for himself. Going into the week, there were rumors spreading regarding the Tiger's interest in University of Houston's Tom Herman and Florida State's Jimbo Fisher. But, the morning after the win over the Aggies, the Tigers announced that they would be offering the position to Ogeron, giving the Louisiana born and raised football player and coach a chance to get results on the biggest stage of college football: the SEC.

The University of Houston's football team played American Athletic Conference rival, Memphis on Saturday. Despite their #20 ranking, the Cougars fell to the Tigers 44-48, leaving them in third place in their division. The hype around the Cougars this week followed closely the movements of coach, Tom Herman. Both LSU and Texas expressed their interest in the up-and-coming coach after sub-par performances this season. When asked by press the morning of the Memphis game, Herman denied any rumors of his movement. Sunday, Texas announced that they would be welcoming Herman to their program as a replacement for Charlie Strong who had been let go Friday.

LSU had also been courting Herman towards the end of the week: it is unclear whether the decision was made by the university or Herman to not select him as the Tiger's new coach. But, in the end the Tigers chose a man who has been working to become the coach at LSU for much of his career. Having dabbled in SEC play at Mississippi State, along with holding positions at powerhouses such as USC and Miami, Ogeron's resume speaks for itself, and will hopefully reflect in the next few years of Tiger football.

In my opinion, Herman is a risky hire for Texas. He is a young coach who has created a name for himself in a small window of time at a school that no one would have considered the powerhouse that it now is five years ago. But, his team has struggled this year. Walking away 5-3 in a struggling American conference, with a loss to SMU (who is not even bowl eligible this year,) some may begin to wonder: if Herman cannot keep his team cool in the American, how will he survive in the Big 12? Only time will tell: maybe Herman will be the secret to bringing Texas back to its former glory or maybe in two years he will be another Charlie Strong.

Cover Image Credit: ESPN

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.

I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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