The coach-go-round

Considering the design of The Wisdom incorporates LSU football during the season, I suppose I”m obligated to chime in on the Nick Saban situation. I”d have done it yesterday, but I was in an all-day meeting and actually heard about it from a guy surfing on his Treo. Worse yet, my USC pal was in from L.A. for the meeting, so his “you should hire Norm Chow” stuff trumped my congratulating him for finally getting a shot at the national championship.

So it seems the Dolphins want Nick, and they may give him both a pile of cash ($5 million a year) and control of the organization as GM.

He should take it.

It”s not that I want him to bolt LSU for the NFL, but it”s what he should do.

I can hear you all now: “But Cap”n, shouldn”t Nick want to stay at LSU, the finest damn football program in America?”

But I have to be a realist. Historically, the LSU job is certainly among the better coaching positions in the U.S., and thanks to Nick, it”s become an even better job to have. Maybe the 10th-best job in the NCAA?

That means it”s the 42nd best job in the world for a man in Nick”s profession. Sure, not every football coach wants to jump to the NFL, but Nick”s the type that does. He”s done it once, already.

So to reach the top of his profession, the NFL is where he needs to be. And he”ll make $5 million a year to boot. Maybe it”s riskier to take over a 1-8 Dolphins team than to stay at LSU, but risk is what ambitious coaches have to accept in order to move up.

I”m operating under the assumption that Nick is leaving. If so, the question then becomes how we replace him. Hopefully that decision will be made before the NASA geek comes onboard as chancellor. And hopefully we don”t make the same mistake we made when Bill Arnsparger left. Back then, we hired Mike Archer (a coordinator under Arnsparger). Mike crashed the program and sent us down the road of Curley Hallman and Gerry DiNardo.

So Jimbo Fisher, sorry.

Word on the street is that Nick has personally recommended former Cleveland Browns and Miami Hurricanes coach Butch Davis as a replacement. Davis doesn”t exactly have a stellar recent resume, but reading between the lines he seems to be a real coaching talent. So we”ll see.

In any case, Tiger fans need to understand that this is the way the world works. LSU is not the best job in football, but we”ve had the best coach in football for five years. That”s an imbalance in our favor, and we have a national championship, two SEC championships, two Sugar Bowl wins and the best five-year stretch since the early 1970s to show for it.

But ultimately, the best coaches are likely to seek the best jobs. And that”s probably the case with Nick. We”ll just have to make the next smart move and avoid the next dumb move once he moves on.

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